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I'd like to identify two words related to anachronism: one having an exclusive association to past, and the other to future.

According to Lexico, anachronism means:

A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned

I realize that in common usage, anachronism typically refers to the past because time travel to the past violates our current understanding of physics—however, I'm looking for words that are exclusive to past and future, respectively.


Edit: Adding more clarity to the question, via @FumbleFingers' comment below: I want to

split anachronisms into two "subtypes". One where the "anachronistic" thing appears at an inappropriately early time (soldiers in the Roman empire using machine-guns, say). The other where something appears later than its "proper" time...

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  • Let me get this straight. You want to split anachronisms into two "subtypes". One where the "anachronistic" thing appears at an inappropriately early time (soldiers in the Roman empire using machine-guns, say). The other where something appears later than its "proper" time - for which I can't think of an obvious example that actually happens, because if it was something we were familiar with it wouldn't really be anachronistic. But hypothetically, I suppose if US Marines start building ballistae along the border with Mexico, that would count. Jun 19 '20 at 17:52
  • But as regards actual future (later than now), it's hard to see how anything could fit. Since we don't know what the future will bring, we can't know what belongs there rather than in the present day or earlier. Jun 19 '20 at 17:54
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    In common parlance: throwback or, dinosaur for something from the past. ("Antediluvian" if you want to sound fancy) The opposite: Futuristic is easily understood. AmE
    – Oldbag
    Jun 19 '20 at 17:56
  • @FumbleFingers Yes, that’s what I’m looking for.
    – jsejcksn
    Jun 19 '20 at 18:03
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    Just to point out that you don’t need a time machine to get things from the future into a current or past setting, just make a gladiator movie and leave a cellphone on the table.
    – Jim
    Jun 19 '20 at 22:42
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There is a very good reason why the word anachronism is as it is. Its standard or most basic application is to mistakes which are the effects of ignorance or carelessness. For example, the recasting of Shakespearean plays in modern dress is not generally regarded as 'anachronistic', because the 'out of place' assault rifles etcetera are deliberate and so, even by its critics, just bad taste.

Even if that were not so, the idea of 'prochronism', though the best stab at a word, has very little to apply to. In the sense discussed, we lack the knowledge of the future to have something obviously 'out of place'. At least, it could only happen where a play or story about the past introduced something belonging to a later time (but still in the past).

Such an example can occur where someone is trying to convey, speaking of Shakespeare, tutor English, but includes a word or a phrase that belongs to the Jacobean period, or if a description of a meal eaten by Roman soldiers at Vindolanda on Hadrian's wall included tomatoes. These would be called anachronisms, and for which you want to coin a term like, say, prochronism, and refer to having parliamentary forces in the British civil war bombarding royalist Oxford's defences with catapults or arquebuses as a metachronism.

I very much fear that even if such someone adopted a distinction as between prochronism/metachronism, it would have far to few contexts for its use for the distinction to catch on and become a standard usage.

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Jesus with a computer, and me with a time-machine are both anachronisms. Anachronisms are things that are outside their time frame, both past and future.

Lexico is lacking in its defintiond of anachronism. It has one meaning and two senses:

OED

1. An error in computing time, or fixing dates; the erroneous reference of an event, circumstance, or custom to a wrong date. Said etymologically (like prochronism) of a date which is too early, but also used of too late a date, which has been distinguished as parachronism.

1705 T. Hearne Ductor Historicus (ed. 2) I. i. i. 8 Virgil by making Dido and Æneas Co-temporaries, whereas they lived at Three Hundred Years distance..committed an Anachronism.

2. Anything done or existing out of date; hence, anything which was proper to a former age, but is, or, if it existed, would be, out of harmony with the present; also called a practical anachronism. Also transf. of persons.

1952 M. McCarthy Groves of Academe iii. 37 She herself was a smoldering anachronism, a throwback to one of those ardent young women of the Sixties, Turgenev's heroines.

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  • You with a time machine is the same sort of anachronism as Jesus with a computer since the time machine hasn't been invented yet. A better answer would be you, in your twenty-first century home, using a candlestick phone with no dial to make a routine call and having to ask the operator to connect you.
    – BoldBen
    Jun 19 '20 at 19:17
  • @BoldBen That is covered in 2. OED.
    – Greybeard
    Jun 19 '20 at 19:22
  • This doesn't seem to attempt to address my question.
    – jsejcksn
    Jun 19 '20 at 19:44
  • @jsejcksn I'd like to identify the words related to anachronism, but having specific meaning to past and future I answered Anachronisms are things that are outside their time frame, both past and future. What is lacking?
    – Greybeard
    Jun 19 '20 at 19:50
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    Do prochronism and parachronism fit the requirement?
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 19 '20 at 21:10

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