ANACHRONISM [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*


I have friends who are part of an interesting organization called “The Society for Creative Anachronism.”

It’s an organized re-enactment group who dress like Medieval characters and meet in romantic locations (like a Cathedral grounds)  and walk, talk, eat, drink, joust, and play like people from that era.   The don’t intentionally draw blood or actually injure anyone.  They just try their best to recreate life as it was in a past era.

I found the SCA to be entertaining and even instructive.  But there is also a side of this experience which is a little kooky.  Not to them.  To me.

To be anachronistic is to create something that is not consistent with the current moment.

  • like eating a Creamsickle or drinking a bottle of Tru-Ade
  • like listening to Amos ‘n Andy on a radio
  • like laundering clothes in a tub of boiling water
  • like doing school work on a slate instead of a computer or tablet
  • like making butter with a hand-pumped churn
  • like going hunting with a musket
  • like traveling in a horse-drawn Conestoga wagon
  • like wearing wooden false teeth

Get the point?  It’s doing something that doesn’t fit with contemporary society.

There are dramatic variations that fit the definition.  And then there are little things that pop up in everyday life which can be characterized as anachronistic.  Sometimes it’s a simple as a word or term.  Like calling a sofa a “davenport.”  Or, how about girls wearing long skirts, bobby sox and saddle shoes to school?

But living  in the past and denying the changes that have led to the current world is anachronistic, also.  It may be fun on a Saturday to dress up in a Medieval costume and play tournament.  But it’s another thing to deny the present and embrace the past as reality.

Anachronism is a word that comes from two Greek words,anakhronismos, from ana- ‘backward’ + khronos ‘time.’  That’s a pretty good way of describing the word…”backward time.


Photo Credit:  D&D

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