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[uh-nak-ruh-niz-uh m] /əˈnæk rəˌnɪz əm/
something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time:
The sword is an anachronism in modern warfare.
an error in chronology in which a person, object, event, etc., is assigned a date or period other than the correct one:
To assign Michelangelo to the 14th century is an anachronism.
Origin of anachronism
1640-50; < Latin anachronismus < Greek anachronismós a wrong time reference, equivalent to anachron(ízein) to make a wrong time reference (see ana-, chron-, -ize) + -ismos -ism
Related forms
[an-uh-kron-ik-lee] /ˌæn əˈkrɒn ɪk li/ (Show IPA),
adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for anachronism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Notice the anachronism of the transfer of the mediaeval sport to legendary Greece.

    Palamon and Arcite John Dryden
  • Tell me, dear lady, how does it feel to be married to an anachronism?

    The Great Hunger Johan Bojer
  • This constant introduction of Pasquino must not be taken as involving any anachronism.

    Diversions in Sicily H. Festing Jones
  • A vestige, an anachronism, handed down from centuries before.

    Life Sentence James McConnell
  • She not unjustly objected to Claverhouse's use of the word "sentimental" as an anachronism.

  • He is truly a prodigy of a man, and, so far as to-day is concerned, an anachronism.

  • He felt sometimes as if he were an anachronism, an officer of nineteen-fourteen who had miraculously lasted four years.

    H.M.S. ---- Klaxon
  • Who could be troubled by the anachronism in the book being of modern shape?

  • In Spain, it is true, vultures serve a useful office as scavengers; yet in modern Europe they surely seem an anachronism.

British Dictionary definitions for anachronism


the representation of an event, person, or thing in a historical context in which it could not have occurred or existed
a person or thing that belongs or seems to belong to another time: she regards the Church as an anachronism
Derived Forms
anachronistic, adjective
anachronistically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin anachronismus, from Greek anakhronismos a mistake in chronology, from anakhronizein to err in a time reference, from ana- + khronos time
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anachronism

1640s, "an error in computing time or finding dates," from Latin anachronismus, from Greek anakhronismos, from anakhronizein "refer to wrong time," from ana- "against" (see ana-) + khronos "time" (see chrono-). Meaning "something out of harmony with the present" first recorded 1816.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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