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Tag Wiki 'Retronym'.


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A retronym is a for an existing thing that differentiates the original form or version from a more recent one. It is thus a word created to differentiate between two types, whereas previously (before there were two types) no clarification was required.

Advances in technology are often responsible for the coinage of retronyms. For example, the term "" was coined at the advent of and were thus renamed to distinguish them from once the latter were invented.


The first bicycles with two wheels of equal size were called "" because they were easier to handle than the then-dominant style that had one large wheel and one small wheel, which then became known as an "ordinary" bicycle. Since the end of the 19th century, most bicycles have been expected to have two equal sized wheels, and the other type has been renamed "" or .

The original was referred to as "Game Boy Classic" after the release of Game Boy Color. Another gaming example is the original Xbox being referred to as the Xbox 1 prior to the release of the , similarly today it is commonly referred to as the "Xbox Classic" or simply "the original Xbox."

Word history
The term retronym, a composed of the combining forms + , was coined by in 1980 and popularized by in The New York Times Magazine.

In 2000 The American Heritage Dictionary (4th edition) became the first major dictionary to include the word retronym.

See also

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