Anachronism, but for place instead of time
October 30, 2007 7:05 AM   Subscribe

What's a good word for 'a spatially or geographically incongruous person/event/object', as an analogue to anachronism, which is 'temporally incongruous'? (New words okay)

Here's a contrived example. Suppose I was visiting a city or region where the majority of its population did not eat meat, and walking down the middle of Main Street I saw a large steakhouse.

I would turn to my friend and say, "Wow, that steakhouse is a total ---------- here."
posted by onalark to Writing & Language (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Anachorism
posted by roofus at 7:09 AM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

Best answer: OOPArt is one option.
posted by TedW at 7:10 AM on October 30, 2007

At least for your example, I think I'd tend to just say "that steakhouse is totally out of place here." That's no fun, though...
posted by Rallon at 7:10 AM on October 30, 2007

posted by boo_radley at 7:11 AM on October 30, 2007

Perhaps "outlier" - it's widely used in statistics to refer to a data point that is anomalous, far away (numerically) from the rest of the data.

Or, perhaps just "anomaly" - if you're refering to geographic or spatial oddities, there may be no need to include space/geography in the word itself.
posted by entropone at 7:20 AM on October 30, 2007

geographically challenged.

locale misalignment

time/space discrepancy

Just previewed... OOPArt is great!
posted by ian1977 at 7:21 AM on October 30, 2007

Response by poster: Hmnn, Wikipedia also suggests anatopism in the See Also from Anachronism.
posted by onalark at 7:22 AM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: And further googling on anatopism and anachorism yields this blog post comparing the two, but which also makes an argument for para- and meta- as prefixes instead.
posted by onalark at 7:31 AM on October 30, 2007

Best answer: I agree with Daniel at wishydig: "anachorism is a nonce-word, while anatopism is merely 'rare.' Plus, anatopism is fifty years older than its step-brother." Here are the cites for anatopism:

1812 COLERIDGE Rem. I. 317 In arranging which [books] the puzzled librarian must commit an anachronism in order to avoid an anatopism. 1850 DE QUINCEY Wks. XVI. 72 Geographical blunders, or what might be called anatopisms.
posted by languagehat at 7:41 AM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'd say something like "Goodness, that must be from Kansas."
posted by sondrialiac at 8:10 AM on October 30, 2007

Seconding 'anomaly'.
posted by jquinby at 8:10 AM on October 30, 2007

texas vegan?
slutty nun?
black klansman?

(ps, i am from texas, a vegan, a nun, slutty, black, and racist, so i'm allowed to say these things. only if you are a fish or a bicycle will i accept your outrage.)
posted by twistofrhyme at 9:20 AM on October 30, 2007

Seconding anatopism, also makes more sense in Greek. Anachorism is from χώρος, space, while anatopism is from τόπος, place.
posted by the number 17 at 9:25 AM on October 30, 2007

"Fish out of water."
posted by Lynsey at 10:22 AM on October 30, 2007

Sticks out like a sore thumb.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 11:23 AM on October 30, 2007

Why not just say it's incongruous and let context speak for itself?
posted by cardboard at 12:39 PM on October 30, 2007

a geology word for roughly this is terrane. Couldn't really use it in your example sentence, though.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:48 PM on October 30, 2007

Here's an adjective that fits your example: heterotopic.
posted by rob511 at 5:31 PM on October 30, 2007

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