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adjective Linguistics.
  1. of or relating to the changes in a linguistic system between successive points in time; historical: diachronic analysis.
Compare synchronic.

Origin of diachronic

1925–30; < French diachronique (term introduced by F. de Saussure); see dia-, chronic
Related formsdi·a·chron·i·cal·ly, adverbdi·a·chron·ic·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for diachronic

Historical Examples

  • Now, again I repeat, there is no imaginable difference to sense between the prochronic and the diachronic development.


    Philip Henry Gosse

  • The two creations,—the extinct and the extant,—or rather the prochronic and the diachronic—here unite.


    Philip Henry Gosse

British Dictionary definitions for diachronic


  1. of, relating to, or studying the development of a phenomenon through time; historicaldiachronic linguistics Compare synchronic

Word Origin

C19: from dia- + Greek 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

Word Origin and History for diachronic


1857, from Greek dia "throughout" (see dia-) + khronos "time" (see chrono-). Use in linguistics dates from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

diachronic in Medicine


  1. Of or concerned with phenomena as they change through time.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.