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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.
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 anachronisms
  • anachronisms of two kinds persist in respect of this phenomenon.
  • anachronisms abound and you get everything from audience participation to gently obscene musical interludes.
  • Yet historians note various anachronisms, such as horses, steel and wheat.
  • Ah medicine, one of those quaint anachronisms which manage to cling to power by charging a large entrance fee to the guild.
  • And it scatters anachronisms as freely as a cloud scatters rain.
  • Where a date has been provided, however, close scrutiny of details will sometimes detect anachronisms that give the show away.
British Dictionary definitions for anachronisms


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
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Word Origin and History for anachronisms



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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Encyclopedia Article for anachronisms


(from Greek ana, "back," and chronos, "time"), neglect or falsification, intentional or not, of chronological relation. It is most frequently found in works of imagination that rest on a historical basis, in which appear details borrowed from a later age; e.g., a clock in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, an attendant to the Pharaoh shod in tennis shoes in Cecil B. deMille's The Ten Commandments. Anachronisms originate in disregard of the different modes of life and thought that characterize different periods or in ignorance of the facts of history.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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