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anachronism (noun) misdating (a custom, a person, or a practice); old fashioned and outlandish; placing (in a book, a story, a play, etc.) an event, a custom, clothes, etc., of one period and one place as belonging to another period and another place.

Horse drawn carriages are an anachronism in these days of high-tech transport. That is, they are very old fashioned. In the same way if a person is old fashioned enough to insist on cooking with firewood and charcoal, in these days of gas and electricity, they are an anachronism. If the characters in a historical movie are shown as wearing modern clothing, it is an anachronism.

  • Anachronisms are common in the historical plays of Shakespeare. The reference to Romans wearing night caps is an anachronism, because Romans at the time of Julius Caesar did not wear them.
  • Anachronisms seen in plays or stories amuse us, because they appear odd, because of the misplacement.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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