Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
See also: Retronym
retronym (plural retronyms)
- (grammar) A new word or phrase coined for an old object or concept whose original name has become used for something else or is no longer unique (such as acoustic guitar where guitar used to mean this but can now also refer to an electric guitar).
1982 December 26, William Safire, “On Language: Watch what you say”, in New York Times:
- The phrase is a retronym, the term Frank Mankiewicz has coined to describe names of familiar objects or events that need a modifier to catch up to more modern objects: day baseball and natural turf are in the same category as analog watch.
2004, Geoff Nunberg, Going Nucular: Language, Politics, and Culture in Confrontational Times, ISBN 1586482343, page 239:
- You can get a good sense of the pace of change over the past century just by looking at the retronyms we've accumulated. New technologies have forced us to come up with terms like steam locomotive, silent movie [...]
A new coinage for an old concept
- (grammar, rare) retronym
Declension of retronym
|Inflection of retronym|