Definition of diachronic in English:



  • Concerned with the way in which something, especially language, has developed and evolved through time.

    ‘the census is also a diachronic data set’
    Often contrasted with synchronic
    ‘linguistic change is the diachronic aspect of linguistic variation’
    • ‘Utilizing both a diachronic and synchronic analysis, one can note the respective contexts and then further describe how these synchronic tensions have served readers of a collection.’
    • ‘In essence, then, Steck calls for both a diachronic and synchronic reading of Isaiah.’
    • ‘The strands of causation comprising this web, as I have termed it, interact with one another in time: there is a diachronic and contingent aspect to causation that must be accounted for.’
    • ‘But, unfortunately, economics isn't good at diachronic comparisons (ones between points in time), for much the same reason as it hasn't been very good with such things as the environment.’
    • ‘It's clear, from diachronic and synchronic investigations, that all known languages give similar descriptions of the world.’
    • ‘Though let me stress that what I have offered here is not an expert opinion; I have done no serious quantitative work on this topic, and I have no real expertise in diachronic lexical semantics.’
    • ‘What is missing from such an approach is a diachronic perspective that can explain how this distribution evolved.’
    • ‘Rapley balances this diachronic argument with a more synchronic survey of convent life and the teaching activities of the nuns.’
    • ‘The diachronic study of language, or study of the structure of language over a period of time, prevailed over the synchronic study of language, or study of language at a moment in time.’
    • ‘However, if a thematic rather than diachronic approach is chosen, historical events have to be recapitulated to explain the setting of individual subjects.’
    • ‘Currently, linguists generally prefer the synchronic study of spoken language to the diachronic comparison of words in texts, and have tended to regard philology as pre-scientific.’
    • ‘The distinction between ritual and ceremony as pointed out by Alan Wald can then be analysed from a diachronic and a synchronic point of view.’
    • ‘Garin approached history in the diachronic mode, paying special attention to dynamism and change, and seeking to illuminate the relationship between particular origins and particular outcomes.’
    • ‘‘Romanticism’ is the interpretive sense we make of Romantic-era literature by means of diachronic and synchronic narratives.’
    • ‘This definition exemplifies the turn towards a more diachronic and sociological focus in textual scholarship, and offers a conceptual rubric marked by bibliographic and theoretical rigour.’
    • ‘From a diachronic viewpoint, languages seem to change from being more pragmatic to more syntactic; from a synchronic perspective, different languages may simply be at different stages of this evolutional circle.’
    • ‘The relationship between these optimistic and pessimistic strains can be seen, in diachronic terms, as a struggle for ideological dominance throughout the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘The relation between the selves is synchronic, not diachronic; it is also a relation of chiasmic exchange, like that between eye and text, or voice and ear.’
    • ‘In addition to placing English in a diachronic chain of invader-turned-native languages, Rao argues for an Indian English in a synchronic relation with American English and Irish English.’
    • ‘Again, all of this was fundamental to the epistemological changes by which Western natural science was established, and the reorganization of attention in the 19th century thus had deep diachronic roots.’


Mid 19th century: from dia- ‘through’ + Greek khronos ‘time’ + -ic.