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An anachronism is something or someone that is out of place with history, either something that was misplaced in a timeline, or a person that does not fit well with his or her time period. This is often used to describe items or events in movies and books, where perhaps the author did not research as well as he or she should have.

There are three adjective forms: anachronistic, anachronic, and anachronous (listed in the order of popularity). The adverb can be anachronistically, anachronically, or anachronously (also in order of usage).


“Within ten to fifteen years, the typical U.S. mall, unless it is completely reinvented, will be a historical anachronism—a sixty-year aberration that no longer meets the public’s needs, the retailers’ needs or the community’s needs,” Rick Caruso, the C.E.O. of Caruso Affiliated, one of the largest privately held American real-estate companies told an audience last year, according to The New Yorker. [NPR]

‘When we look at Australia in the 21st century, it’s about who we’re going to be as a people and I just think giving out a top award to a British royal is anachronistic,’ Mr Shorten told Fairfax Radio. [Sky News Australia]

The game is told in fragmented scenes of varying length from various points in Jodie’s life told in anachronic order. [Pop Matters]

Martunis owns a small, old-fashioned suitcase and carries it as if it’s the most precious thing on Earth. He puts it on the floor in front of him, kneels down and flicks open its anachronous brass locks. [Yahoo News AU]

The singers, in contrast, were anachronistically costumed in an approximation of contemporary street clothes; plain dress shirts and pants for the men; a simple, modern, buttoned blue dress for Van Doren. [The Kansas City Star]

Anachronically and maybe misleadingly, but certainly enthusiastically, the blurb included a photograph not of either Magellan telescope at Las Campanas, but of the Giant Magellan Telescope envisioned there. [Physics Today]

However, having a glance at the era of the “perfect means and confused goals,” in our days of changes, we can discern that there are still societies which live anachronously, without the slightest change in the woman’s status from the depth of the centuries. [Huffington Post]