from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A word or phrase created because an existing term that was once used alone needs to be distinguished from a term referring to a new development, as acoustic guitar in contrast to electric guitar or analog watch in contrast to digital watch.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. 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).
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a word introduced because an existing term has become inadequate
Now that cordless drills have become so common, I notice an example of what you call a retronym: corded drills.
I’ve heard the term retronym used for neologisms that are coined to refit old words that have since become ambiguous.
The competition was to for the best "retronym" a term for an old object needing clarification.
Then we could have retronym, meaning a word formed by reversing the spelling of another word.
The top retronym terms that were submitted for a non-Internet librarian were:
It's the Retronymy, Stupid In a 1992 "On Language" column, William Safire of the New York Times explained the concept of a retronym:
My uncle not Meta, if KTK is reading coined the term “retronym” to describe the phenomenon of labeling original terms as opposed to derivations thereof.
I tend to think of Orthodox Judaism as a retronym, or a new term for an old concept.
Because of wireless cell phones, a line now requires a retronym: landline.
Is the oldest retronym not-forbidden fruit older than non-circumcised penis and kosher food?
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