anachronism

noun
anach·​ro·​nism | \ ə-ˈna-krə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce anachronism (audio) \

Definition of anachronism

1 : 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
2 : 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
3 : the state or condition of being chronologically out of place

Other Words from anachronism

anachronistic \ ə-​ˌna-​krə-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce anachronism (audio) \ or less commonly anachronic \ ˌa-​nə-​ˈkrä-​nik How to pronounce anachronism (audio) \ adjective
anachronistically \ ə-​ˌna-​krə-​ˈni-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anachronism (audio) \ adverb
anachronous \ ə-​ˈna-​krə-​nəs How to pronounce anachronism (audio) \ adjective
anachronously adverb

Did you know?

An anachronism is something that is out of place in terms of time or chronology. The word derives from chronos, the Greek word for "time," and ana-, a Greek prefix meaning "up," "back," or "again." In its earliest English use, anachronism referred to an error in the dating of something (as, for example, in etymology, when a word or use is mistakenly assumed to have arisen earlier than it did). Anachronisms were sometimes distinguished from parachronisms, chronological errors in which dates are set later than is correct. But parachronism did not stand the test of time. It is now a very rare word.

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Kamui is a 21st century ninja, a shadowy anachronism who pits his ancient skills against high-tech weaponry with brutal finesse. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 May 2022 Kamui is a 21st century ninja, a shadowy anachronism who pits his ancient skills against high-tech weaponry with brutal finesse. Selome Hailu, Variety, 18 May 2022 For many, Glut’s bulk bins went from a charming anachronism to a lifeline. Washington Post, 14 June 2021 Kwan, 24-years-old, is an anachronism at a time when baseball might benefit from a return to its past. Jared Diamond, WSJ, 10 May 2022 For many Muslims, especially outside America, this debate is an anachronism at best. Haroon Moghul, CNN, 29 Apr. 2022 An armored train—once thought to be an anachronism on today’s battlefield—has turned up in Ukraine. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 10 Mar. 2022 By 2014, though, development budgets less lavish than the products were turning old-school into an anachronism. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, 15 Mar. 2022 Despite attempts to modernize the series, Formula 1 is starting to look like an anachronism. James Morris, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anachronism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of anachronism

1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anachronism

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

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Dictionary Entries Near anachronism

anachromasis

anachronism

anaclasis

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anachronism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anachronism. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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