anach·​ro·​nism ə-ˈna-krə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce anachronism (audio)
: an error in chronology
especially : a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other
found several anachronisms in the movie
: a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place
especially : one from a former age that is incongruous in the present
By the time I reached my teens, the housewife was an anachronism, replaced on television by the perky, glamorous, character of That Girl, Marlo Thomas, who kept her boyfriend at bay in the interest of pursuing her acting career. Joyce Maynard
: the state or condition of being chronologically out of place
anachronistic adjective
or less commonly anachronic
anachronistically adverb
anachronous adjective
anachronously adverb

Did you know?

An anachronism is an error of chronology in which something, such as an object or event, is placed in the wrong time. Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar includes a famous anachronism, with Cassius alluding to a mechanical clock (“The clock hath stricken three”) in a play whose events take place more than a thousand years before mechanical clocks were invented. Anachronism has its roots in Greek chronos, “time,” and ana-, a Greek prefix meaning “up,” “back,” or “again.” Anachronisms historically were sometimes distinguished from parachronisms, chronology errors in which an event is placed later than it occurred. Both anachronism and parachronism (and also the latter’s now-obsolete synonym metachronism) date to the 17th century, but only anachronism has stood the test of time.

Examples of anachronism in a Sentence

In our modern world of pre-made, rush-rush, tightly scheduled lives, Amanda Blake Soule is an anachronism. At their home in coastal Maine, her family of six makes most of what they use—everything from bread and crafts to clothes and toys. Jean Van't Hul, Mothering, March/April 2009
The spy thriller is a genre that arguably should have died fifteen years ago, and its continued popularity seems an anachronism at first glance. Rand Richards Cooper, Commonweal, 14 Sept. 2007
With few exceptions, work opportunities for older people diminished after the Civil War as the United States metamorphosed into an urban-industrial order, inaugurating a second phase in the history of retirement. The village blacksmith became an anachronism as the craftsman retreated before the new mass-production industries. W. Andrew Achenbaum, Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2006
But Shakespeare may have drifted into anachronism here. According to Rogers, food in France at the time of Agincourt was probably just as meaty and unsophisticated as it was in England. Jonathan Ree, Prospect, August, 2003
It is true that in the closing years of the century William Jennings Bryan could still rise to national political leadership through his superb oratorical skills, but it is equally true that he lived to see himself become an anachronism, the bearer of a style redolent of an earlier culture. Lawrence W. Levine, The Unpredictable Past, 1993
The novel is full of anachronisms. He's an old-fashioned politician who is seen by many of his colleagues as an anachronism.
Recent Examples on the Web That’s quite a feat for a business that is arguably an anachronism from before the existence of digital game downloads and that has closed about a third of its stores since 2017. Nicole Narea, Vox, 14 May 2024 Murphy arrived early for the convention, an anachronism in an era of campaigns dominated by television, social media and micro-targeting. Mark Pazniokas, Hartford Courant, 12 May 2024 Likely the most controversial part of her exit will be the degree to which RuPaul was wildly offended by her Cher look’s anachronism. Jason P. Frank, Vulture, 26 Jan. 2024 Indeed, the film will probably be enjoyed most by folks not given to undue consideration of such trifling matters as lineage, logic and arrant anachronisms. Joe Leydon, Variety, 29 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for anachronism 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anachronism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from Middle Greek anachronismos, from anachronizesthai to be an anachronism, from Late Greek anachronizein to be late, from Greek ana- + chronos time

First Known Use

1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of anachronism was in 1617


Dictionary Entries Near anachronism

Cite this Entry

“Anachronism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


anach·​ro·​nism ə-ˈnak-rə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce anachronism (audio)
: the placing of persons, events, objects, or customs in times to which they do not belong
: a person or a thing out of place in time and especially the present time
: the state or condition of being out of place in time
anachronistic adjective
anachronistically adverb

probably from Greek anachronismos "anachronism," derived from earlier anachronizein "to be late," from ana- "up" and chronos "time" — related to chronic, chronicle, synchronous

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