What is the word to describe the following situation: There is a sign up warning people not to do something, but it has been up so long I think it no longer applies, but I'm going to follow it anyway.


  • Could you add context as to why you think it doesn't apply?
    – dwjohnston
    Jul 30 '14 at 23:44
  • I can't think of a single word, but the phrase "blindly observe obsolete restrictions" comes to mind, if that helps.
    – phoog
    Jul 31 '14 at 0:02
  • Are you looking for something like obsolete, expired, outdated, defunct?
    – GMB
    Jul 31 '14 at 0:55
  • Sorry. Should have been more specific. There is a sign up in a conference room telling us not to use the blackboards because they are under treatment. It has been up for weeks. Thus, it is doubtful that they are still under treatment. I wouldn't use most of these phrases, but "outdated," might fit. I feel like there is a single word though.
    – Thoth19
    Jul 31 '14 at 7:57
  • are you thinking of "redundant"? for computer code there is "legacy"
    – Fattie
    Jul 31 '14 at 9:29

One word is out-of-date. It is an out-of-date sign. The sign is out of date.

You can also say that it is not up to date; it is not an up-to-date sign.

You can also say that the sign is no longer applicable, or that it no longer applies.

None of those expressions are single words, except for the hyphenated forms used as adjectives.

The single words mentioned in @GMB's comment are also applicable: obsolete, outdated, and defunct (though I probably would not apply defunct to a sign, myself).

  • Obsolete is probably the best choice for single word, but out of date is probably the best descriptor. Thanks.
    – Thoth19
    Aug 1 '14 at 14:18

According to Oxford Dictionary Online, the term relic means

An object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical or sentimental interest.

While this definition does not explicitly reflect an intent to follow the outdated patterns, the religious connotation invites such an interpretation.


In general, it is time-honored (AmE) / time-honoured (BrE). It implies that something is honored or followed even it is outdated or old-fashioned because it was there for a long time. It is usually applied to long-standing traditions and customs.

Thus, for your specific example, you might use long-standing sign as a homonymic pun.

Also, you might use the idiomatic phrase live in the past for the people with this kind of mindset.

Have old-fashioned or outdated ideas and attitudes: we aren’t here to cater to fringe elements who insist on living in the past

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/live

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