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From Ancient Greek ἀνά (aná, against) and τόπος (tópos, place); apparently by analogy with anachronism.


anatopism (plural anatopisms)

  1. (rare) A thing that is out of its proper place; the geographic counterpart to anachronism.
    A war elephant described rampaging through Tenochtitlan in a novel about the Aztec Empire would be an anatopism.


  • 1836: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Henry Nelson Coleridge, Esq., M. A., ed, The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    [] and can find no associates in size at a less distance than two centuries; and in arranging which the puzzled librarian must commit an anachronism in order to avoid an anatopism.
  • 1912: Augustus Hopkins Strong, Miscellanies
    There is no anachronism in putting them together; it is a sort of anatopism rather; the painter has placed within our view two scenes which no mortal eye could have witnessed at the same time.
  • 1921: John Anthony Scott, The Unity of Homer
    It is a remarkable fact that, so far as I can judge, no case of local inconsistency, not a single anatopism, can be brought home to the Iliad.
  • 1995: Tony Killick, The Flexible Economy: Causes and Consequences of the Adaptability of National Economies
    Much of the literature on the 'Japanese Miracle' (as well as on that vast anatopism, the transfer of Japanese recipes to Western countries) expatiates on []
  • 2006: Lilie Chouliaraki, The Spectatorship of Suffering
    [] the semiotic mechanism of reorganizing space in this manner as an anatopism. Anatopism renders places such as Bali equivalents of other places []