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noun ret·ro·nym \ˈre-trō-ˌnim\

Definition of retronym

  1. :  a term consisting of a noun and a modifier which specifies the original meaning of the noun <“film camera” is a retronym>

Did You Know?

If you're planning to buy a TV anytime soon, be sure to do plenty of research. Nowadays, there are so many options using state-of-the-art technology - from projection sets to LCD and plasma ones - that the box television with the convex screen you might be replacing with a flat-screen television is. . .well, retro. And if you still have a console television set, a trip to a big-box store might be in your very near future. The names of such out-of-date technology, like "console television set," are examples of retronyms. The oldest print usage that we know of for the word retronym itself is from William Safire's column "On Language" in a 1980 issue of The New York Times. There, he discusses how then-president of National Public Radio, Frank Mankiewicz, collects what he calls "retronyms."

Origin and Etymology of retronym

retro- + -onym

First Known Use: 1980

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up retronym? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of, relating to, or near a shore

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