Share this entry

Share this page

anachronism

Syllabification: a·nach·ro·nism
Pronunciation: /əˈnakrəˌnizəm
 
/

Definition of anachronism in English:

noun

1A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned: everything was as it would have appeared in centuries past apart from one anachronism, a bright yellow construction crane
More example sentences
  • But if these historic anachronisms are to survive beyond the very short term they must quickly find a social role and shed the haughty isolationism which has shielded them from commercial realities.
  • These groups would be at risk of becoming mere anecdotes; anachronisms of a bygone time and a lifestyle that is passing.
  • When a character in a novel set in the 15th century uses a word, ‘taboo,’ that did not enter any European language until the 18th century, the attentive reader begins to look for anachronisms.
1.1An act of attributing a custom, event, or object to a period to which it does not belong.
Example sentences
  • He must also ask this question to avoid the error of anachronism (or ‘presentism’ as some historians call it).
  • It could help to deflect the usual charges of anachronism and unfamiliarity with the period.
  • The pejorative charge of anachronism as the inadmissible confusion of periods or eras presupposes that the accuser knows what the correct time of history is.

Origin

mid 17th century: from Greek anakhronismos, from ana- 'backward' + khronos 'time'.

More
  • An anachronism, something which is wrongly placed in a particular period, comes from Greek anakhronismos, from ana- ‘backwards or against’ and khronos ‘time’. The latter is the source of other time-related words such as chronicle (Middle English), chronometer (mid 18th century) a ‘time measurer’, chronological (mid 16th century), and synchronize (early 17th century) ‘to make the same time’. See also chronic

Derivatives

anachronistic

1
Pronunciation: /əˌnakrəˈnistik/
adjective
Example sentences
  • How can you describe a pointless, anachronistic voyage into the past?
  • So why do we continue to limit ourselves to an anachronistic, outdated, Homeric image of a war fighter?
  • It's very old fashioned, almost anachronistic, and it puts you on guard.

anachronistically

2
Pronunciation: /-ˈnistik(ə)lē/
adverb
Example sentences
  • A central problem of the book, however, one that dogs her work in general, is the sense that her approach is anachronistically stranded on some distant critical shore.
  • The image shows that she was not always dressed anachronistically, that she too invested her image with the current fashions.
  • These issues are rarely original with a particular opera, being historically, sometimes anachronistically, exploited.

Definition of anachronism in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtɛnɪbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure