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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 []