Word of the Day : December 1, 2017


noun uh-NAK-ruh-niz-um


1 : an error in chronology; especially : a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other

2 : a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place; especially : one from a former age that is incongruous in the present

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

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.


"There are the truly strange anachronisms throughout. Félicie traipses around in denim shorts, and the characters … make 'Hammer Time' jokes. And yet we know it's supposed to be the 19th century because of the proliferation of top hats and horse-drawn carriages, and because both the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty are under construction." — Katie Walsh, The Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2017

"With social media and its instantaneous but faux connection, postcards are a quaint anachronism. Part of me is hopelessly old-fashioned, so I'll revive the practice of sending 'postcards' for the next few weeks in lieu of normal columns." — Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, 9 Oct. 2017

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of stridulate, our November 4th Word of the Day?



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!