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Tag Wiki 'Retronym'.


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A retronym is a newer name 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 .

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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