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Today's Word



Sep 11, 2023
This week’s theme
Words related to time

This week’s words

What’s Shakespeare working on?
Illustration: Anu Garg + AI

Previous week’s theme
Misleading words
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with Anu Garg

The Earth is slowing down its rotation. And who can blame it? If you have been on the go for 4.5 billion years, you are entitled to take it easy from time to time.

So, yes, it is slowing down at the rate of 2.3 milliseconds per century. In about 150 million years a day will be an hour longer.

A whole extra hour. Every single day, instead of only once each year when we turn the clocks back under the illusion that we are getting more daylight!

What would I do with an extra hour? I don’t know, so many possibilities I might finally catch up on my reading. Assuming they don’t publish anything new in the intervening time.

Conversely, the dinosaurs enjoyed only 23 hours in a day. No time at all for reading in between hunting, foraging, and dodging asteroids. No wonder they weren’t smart enough to ruin their own climate and environment, and thus survived for hundreds of millions of years more than we are likely to.

What would you do if you magically had an extra hour each day? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org. As always, include your location (city, state).

Meanwhile, this week in A.Word.A.Day we’ll look at words related to time.



1. Out-of-date, old-fashioned.
2. Involving something or someone in the wrong historical period.

From French anachronisme, from Latin anachronismus, from Greek anakhronismos, from ana-, (backwards) + khronos (time). Earliest documented use: 1778.

An anachronistic error can be of two kinds. A parachronism is when the assigned date is too late, and prochronism is when the date is too early. Even language can be fraught with anachronism. Imagine a science fiction story where the protagonist rides a time machine to go back some 500 years. While there, he compliments someone’s dress, calling it “nice”. Well, at that time the word “nice” would have meant “stupid”. Sometimes anachronisms can be unintentional, a story written in 1970 and set in 2000 that features the USSR, for example. What are your favorite anachronistic examples, in literature, art, films, and beyond? Share below or write to us at words@wordsmith.org.

“In an on-demand world, the two-week pay cycle most Canadian workers live with does seem anachronistic and a bit patronizing. You’re asked to work harder and smarter to meet the demands of today’s world, but The Man keeps paying you the same way your parents and probably your grandparents were.”
Rob Carrick; Pay on Demand Reflects today’s Financial Stress; The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada); Jul 25, 2023.

See more usage examples of anachronistic in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows. -O. Henry, short-story writer (11 Sep 1862-1910)

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