Suddenly We Can’t Call it Simply a THING Anymore

After posting that rhyme about retronyms earlier this week, I thought: These things must be everywhere!

After all, a retronym is the new word for an old thing, the new word that becomes necessary when a thing becomes an old thing because along has come a new thing. And suddenly we can’t call it simply a thing anymore. (“It’s coined when innovation’s done / And then refers to Version One.”)  And technology only moves forward, society’s always changing, and products are always getting new and improved. So the opportunity and necessity for retronyms is vast.

More words are retronyms than I’d ever paid attention to before. Check out this tiny sampling–once upon a time, none of these was even necessary:

bar soap  sit-down restaurant acoustic guitar whole milk contiguous United States World War 1 handwriting visible light plain M & Ms Survivor: Borneo silent film hard copy black licorice live music cloth diaper English muffins conventional warfare manual transmission corn on the cob

(From the Wikipedia entry, List of Retronyms.)

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