What is Anachronism?

What is Anachronism

A person or thing placed out of time, before it was known to exist.


  • A historical character using a modern idiom
  • An object that has not yet been invented, like Tupperware in the 1800s
  • A 50-star American flag in a play or movie set before 1960

Anachronism in Literature

Anachronism is often a mistake made by an unaware (or lazy) author… But it’s not always an accident.

You can use anachronism for:

  • Rhetoric
  • Comedy
  • Shock
  • Commentary


Mark Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The title itself is an intentional anachronism, because Connecticut did not yet exist during King Arthur’s time.

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