Words at Play : Top 10 New Words for Old Things

#7: Landline

What It Used to Be Called:

Telephone

What changed:

Cell phones became indispensable.

The term itself goes back a long way. The original landline referred to a wire carrying telegraph signals over land rather than under water. Alexander Graham Bell's telephone system used land line for a wire carrying voice signals.

However, the word wasn't used much until cell phones entered the conversation. At that point, landline came to describe the immobile, newly old-fashioned telephone.

An Early Use (of the Modern Sense):

"When, if ever, will the migration from landlines to mobile stop, and when will landline networks cease to be economically viable?" — McKinsey Quarterly, Jan. 2000

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