[uh-nak-ruh-niz-uh m]


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.

Origin of 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 formsan·a·chron·i·cal·ly [an-uh-kron-ik-lee] /ˌæn əˈkrɒn ɪk li/, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for anachronism

Contemporary Examples of anachronism

  • These days, says another former top studio executive, puts are an anachronism.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Murdoch's Next Move

    Kim Masters

    February 24, 2009

Historical Examples of anachronism

  • This rendered the conflict absurd, and religious wars became an anachronism.

    The Great Illusion

    Norman Angell

  • In short, Hare's view of the average American is now such an anachronism as to entitle him fairly to be called a freak.

    A Year in Europe

    Walter W. Moore

  • The development of production makes the existence of different classes of society thenceforth an anachronism.

  • But it is an anachronism to read the ideals of later ages into the doings of the men of the early thirteenth century.

  • He is an anachronism, a being from another time and world, set down in sleepy Kilronan.

    My New Curate

    P.A. Sheehan

British Dictionary definitions for anachronism



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 timeshe regards the Church as an anachronism
Derived Formsanachronistic, adjectiveanachronistically, adverb

Word Origin for anachronism

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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for anachronism

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