List of retronyms

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This is a list of retronyms used in English language, which are terms renamed after something similar but newer has come into being.[1]

Retronymic adjectives[edit]

Analog/analogue 
Describes non-digital devices:
  • Analog clock: Before digital clocks, most clocks had faces and hands. See also: Analog watch.
  • Analog synthesizer: Before synthesizers contained microchips, every stage of the internal electronic signal flow was analogous to a sound that would eventually be produced at the output stage, and this sound was shaped and altered as it passed through each filter and envelope.
  • Analog (or analogue) watch: Before the advent of the digital watch, all watches had faces and hands. After the advent of the digital watch, watches with faces and hands became known as analog watches.[2]
  • Analog recording
Conventional, classic, or traditional 
Describes devices or methods that have been largely replaced or significantly supplemented by new ones. For example, conventional (non-microwave) oven, or conventional weapon (one which does not incorporate chemical, biological or nuclear payloads).
  • Classic Leave It To Beaver : Used to distinguish the original series of the classic sitcom from the 1980s sequel, The New Leave It To Beaver. This retronym was used by TBS when both of these shows aired.
  • Coca-Cola Classic : Originally called Coca-Cola, the name was changed when the original recipe was reintroduced after New Coke failed to catch on. This is an example of a retronym officially coined by a product's manufacturer.
  • Conventional airplane : In the late 1940s and early 1950s, this term was used to distinguish piston-engined aircraft from the new jet types.
  • Conventional landing gear : Term used in the 1940s to distinguish the traditional landing gear arrangement of two main wheels and a tail wheel (what is today called the "tail-dragger" type) from the newly introduced tricycle landing gear (two main wheels and a nose wheel).
  • Conventional memory : term coined when MS-DOS and other operating systems for the IBM PC and other IBM-like x86 machines went over the 640k memory limit with tricks to access extra memory with different code to address it.
  • Conventional oven : Before the development of the microwave oven, this term was not used. Now it is commonly found in cooking instructions for prepared foods.
  • Conventional war : Before the development of nuclear weapons, this term was not used. (War, Gwynne Dyer)
  • iPod classic (formerly iPod Video) : The original iPod in its latest generation has now been officially called the iPod classic, as every other iPod model currently uses a suffix to define itself.
  • Traditional braces : Used to refer to braces that are metal and crafted by hand, as opposed to SureSmile, Invisalign, and other new technologies.
  • "Traditional Chinese characters" : Used to contrast between Simplified Chinese characters.
Civilian 
Used to refer to items that are not of military quality or for military use, to differentiate them from the military version.
First 
Used when there is a second, third, fourth, etc. version/incarnation of something. This is not always a retronym, e.g. in the case of rulers.
I, Senior, the Elder 
When a dynastic ruler has or adopts the same name as a predecessor, the original is often retrospectively given the Roman numeral I if he didn't already use one in his lifetime. For example, the Dutch prince William I of Orange was just William during his lifetime. In the United States, names (typically of males) may also follow this convention, or the father may be given the suffix Senior (Sr.), with Junior (Jr.) for the son; Roman numerals would be used if the name is repeated again.
I or 1, also part 1, version 1, etc. 
Also sometimes used to refer to the first incarnation of a movie, video game, etc. after sequels have been created, although such works are seldom renamed in this way officially. When Sony released the PlayStation 2, a redesigned version of the original PlayStation was also released under the name PSone. However, the word "One" doesn't always refer to version 1 of a product, such as in Xbox One.
Manual 
Used to distinguish from automatic or electric versions.
Old 
  • Naturally used when there is officially a "new" version of anything, to refer to the previous version. For example, when British money was decimalised and the new penny of 1/100 pound was adopted, the previous penny of 1/240 pound became known as the old penny.
  • Old-fashioned refers to any practice which is no longer customary, such as dress sense, hairstyle or wording, as opposed to (the) fashion, which refers to anything which is at present customary. The English word tuppence was, as mentioned above, the equivalent of two old pennies, and is now known as two pence. By the very definition of old-fashioned, if anyone were to use the word tuppence in conversation, only older people may understand it.
Offline 
Computer users will sometimes agree to meet offline, i.e. face to face as opposed to online in an Internet-based chat room or other such means of electronic communication. Before the Internet became widely used, this was of course the only way to "meet" someone and the term to meet offline was unheard of.
Real 
Often used in a derogatory manner to signify that the original product is the "real" product, as if the new alternative is "fake." For example, "Real instruments" for instruments other than the synth; "Real car" for a gas-burning car, as opposed to a Tesla.
Regular or plain 
Used to refer to an original product after line-extensions are released. For example, one could formerly just ask for a Pepsi. But with the advent of multiple line-extensions like Diet Pepsi or Pepsi Max, one might ask for a regular Pepsi when one wants the original drink. Similarly, regular Oreo cookies were called that after Double Stuf Oreos and other varieties were released. Another example is in the United States regular gasoline (petrol or petroleum spirit outside the U.S.) has now come to mean 87 octane-rated unleaded (ratings in other countries vary). In the United States almost all gasoline had tetraethyl lead additive and was sold as either regular gasoline (octane rating of 89) or high test (octane ratings of 91 or higher until leaded petrol was phased out starting in the late 1970s when all new cars made since 1975 had catalytic converters.
  • Plain M&M's: Plain M&M's candies (now Milk Chocolate) would not have been called that until 1954, when Peanut M&M's were introduced.
  • Plain old telephone service (POTS): The term refers to the telephone service still available after the advent of more advanced forms of telephony, such as ISDN, mobile phones, and VoIP
  • Plain text: Before word processing programs for computers with functions such as support for multiple fonts, underlining, bold/italic and other function came along, text files were simply just known as text.
  • Farmall Regular : As explained at Farmall tractor, the name Farmall began as a model name but became a sub-brand name as additional models were developed.
  • Regular coffee : The development of decaffeinated coffee led to this coinage.
Tabletop
Used to describe the original version of a board game or role-playing game once a video game version has been released.
Vanilla 
Used to describe an unaltered, plain version of an item, most often in reference to software. For example, in computer games with expansion packs, it is used to distinguish the original version from subsequent versions, especially when the original game does not have a subtitle. For example, World of Warcraft could refer to either the original game or one of the four expansion packs, so users may refer to the original as "vanilla" to distinguish it from the subsequent versions.
Wired 
Wired or hardwired refer to products such as telephones, headphones, speakers, computer accessories, etc., which are now available in wireless versions. Wireless telegraphy and wireless telephony were some of the first applications of radio technology, way back in the 1910s and 1920s; "wireless" as a noun today is sometimes simply a synonym for "mobile phone service"/"cell phone service".

Nouns[edit]

Numbers[edit]

1994 Level 
Before the Doom engine had more features added in source ports such as ZDoom and Doom Legacy, all levels for Doom made around 1994 had limitations that constrained the gaming atmosphere. But when more features were added to source ports for better level atmospheres, older-style levels started to be called "1994 levels" to differentiate from the newer kind.
2D 
With the increasing prevalence of 3-D movies, conventional, non-stereoscopic versions of movies are starting to be called 2D versions. This is also used in reference to animation, to distinguish the older style hand-drawn or more recently vector-based animation from 3D-rendered animation.

A–B[edit]

Acoustic guitar 
Before the invention of the solid-body electric guitar, all guitars amplified the sound of a plucked string with a resonating hollow body. Similarly: acoustic piano.[1]
American Morse Code 
This was the original signalling alphabet, suggested by Samuel Morse's assistant, Alfred Vail. It has a variety of different units and timings. It was later replaced by the Continental code (also called international Morse code), which has simpler timings and a different alphabet. Also called "railroad code".
AM radio
Before the introduction of broadcast FM radio, the AM broadcast band radio was known simply as radio, wireless (in the UK) or as medium-wave radio (still the preferred term among radio enthusiasts) to distinguish it from the (also amplitude-modulated) shortwave radio bands.
AM(/FM) only radio
Before FM radio receivers came to the market, AM receivers were simply just known as radios. However, as AM/FM radios started to include turntables, tape players, CD players, and later on analog AUX inputs and even USB, AM/FM radios without bells and whistles would start to be called AM/FM-only radios on their own.
Artistic gymnastics 
Generally known simply as gymnastics before Rhythmic gymnastics was added to the Olympic program in 1984.
At-grade expressway 
Since freeways are divided highways with 100% grade separations, expressways are at-grade highways with no direct private access. Some jurisdictions have different criteria on the difference of word use, but sometimes they are used interchangeably in areas that don't have many at-grade expressways. Since expressway and freeway are sometimes used interchangeably, the term at-grade expressway has been coined since there was a time when all expressways were at-grade; prior to the 1940s which is when California and Michigan planned out the nation's first freeways. States like Florida sometimes use the term "freeway" in reference to expressways (at-grade or grade-separated) which are free-of-charge to use.
Atari 2600 
originally called Atari Video Computer System. When the Atari 5200 was released, the part number 2600 became the official retronym for the original console.
Bar soap 
The common cake of soap used in the tub or shower was familiarly called "soap" or "bath soap"; the term "bar soap" arose with the advent of soaps in liquid and gel form.
Black Licorice 
In North America, licorice is often called "black licorice" to distinguish it from similar confectionery varieties that are not flavored with licorice extract, and commonly manufactured in the form of chewy ropes or tubes.
Black powder 
Called "gunpowder" for centuries while it was in common use. The retronym "black powder" was coined in the late 19th century to differentiate it from the newly developed smokeless powder which superseded it.
Black-and-white television 
Once called simply television, now the retronym is used to distinguish it from color television, which is now more commonly referred to by the unadorned term. Along the same lines: broadcast television, free-to-air television, over-the-air television, silent movie. Furthermore, "Standard Definition Television" has become necessary to distinguish sets from HDTV (high definition).
Boeing 737 Classic 
When Boeing introduced the 737 Next Generation (-600, -700, -800, and -900 series) whilst announcing its successor, the 737 MAX, the -300, -400, and -500 variants of the Boeing 737 still in service were called the 737 Classic.
Brick-and-mortar store, high street shop 
As increasing use of the Internet allowed online stores, accessible only through computers, to compete with established retail shops, the latter began to be called "brick-and-mortar stores" or "high street shops" to indicate that customers could (or had to) visit them to examine and purchase their goods. These two terms are also often used to describe the physical storefronts of a retail business that also sells products online. In the U.S. and Canada, "brick-and-mortar" emphasizes the physical construction of these stores, as opposed to the largely electronic nature of online stores. The terms "high street shop" (UK) or "main street store" or "downtown store" (U.S. and Canada) also serve to differentiate the more traditional retail venue from big-chain "box stores" such as K-mart, Wal-Mart, or Zellers, which did not exist prior to the 1960s. (The name "High Street" is commonly used in the UK for a town's primary thoroughfare. In the U.S. and Canada, it is more likely to be called "Main Street".)
British English 
Was just English until the American language and its parent started to diversify.
Broadcast television 
The term refers to that programming which is available without cable or satellite subscription, since it is "broadcast" over the airwaves, as all television once was. The major networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX in the United States; CBC, CTV,

C–G[edit]

Chevrolet K5 Blazer 
Simply just Chevrolet Blazer (in sales literature) prior to the introduction of the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer since the name was applied to both 2-door SUVs in the 1980s. In reality, the K5 Blazer has always been its official demarcation since its introduction in 1969 although the "K" prefix denotes a four-wheel drive layout (some purists refer to a 2-wheel drive K5 Blazer as a C5). Sales literature from GM after the 1983 model year has always referred to the K5 as the Full-size Blazer. This also includes the Blazer's corporate twin, the GMC Jimmy (same naming convention during the 1980s until the 1992 model year).
Chicago II 
Refers to the second album by the band Chicago. The album was originally entitled just "Chicago" but the name was changed after the release of the third album, Chicago III.
Cloth diaper (Terry nappy) 
Before the second half of the 20th century, all diapers (nappies, in the UK) were made from cloth (terry cloth) and simply called diapers (US) or nappies (UK).. The advent of the disposable diaper gave rise to this term.
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn 
This name is sometimes used by fans of the Command & Conquer series to refer to the original game of the series, officially known simply as Command & Conquer.
Constitution Act, 1867
Prior 1982, when the patriation of the constitution occurred, Canada's constitution was known as The British North America Act.
Corn on the cob 
Before canned corn was widely available, "corn on the cob" was simply "corn."
Bic Cristal 
Before the 2000s, the Bic Cristal was named "Bic Classic" pen. Prior to the 1990s, "Bic Classic" was referred to simply as the "Bic pen".
CSI: Las Vegas 
Not used before the debut of the spinoff series CSI: Miami in 2002, and CSI: NY in 2004.
Curved or curly quotes 
Straight quotes were made widespread by typewriters.
Day baseball 
Baseball played during the day, as all games were played before electric lighting in stadiums became common.
Dial-up internet (or just dial-up
Contrasts with broadband.
Dairy milk 
Used to refer to actual milk from a mammal's mammary glands, as opposed to plant milks like Soy milk, Almond milk, and Coconut milk.
Disposable battery 
Before rechargeable batteries became popular in AA, AAA, C, D and PP3 form factors, all batteries in those form factors were disposable. However, rechargeable batteries back then were limited to stationary and vehicular (sometimes semi-portable) applications.
Divided expressway/freeway (USA) 
Early expressways and freeways were divided corridors, but recent concepts of freeways and expressways have included occasional undivided corridors for economic and environmental compromises, as well as an initial phase prior to twinning. But it is unclear whether undivided versions existed first. However, the expressway, parkway and freeway concepts were developed with divided highways in mind during the 1910s (parkways) and 1940s (freeways), the German Autobahn would be conceptualized around the same time with similar qualities to freeways.
English muffin 
Originally called a 'muffin' in southern England, the prefix is now used to distinguish them from the American version.
Eyeglasses(US) / Prescription glasses (UK) 
Glasses people wear for visual correction. Used in the USA to distinguish from plain sunglasses, safety glasses, or 3D glasses. In the UK the term is not used but the term 'prescription glasses' refers to any glasses with visual correction.
Face-to-face conference 
A conference whose participants meet in the same room, as opposed to using telephones or video cameras (similarly:IRL-meeting = in-real-life meeting).
Field hockey (US) 
Known simply as "hockey" (as it still is in the UK and Ireland) until ice hockey and roller hockey became popular. (In addition, there is a game called street hockey, which evolved from ice hockey.) Similarly, Field soccer (Football (soccer)). (Both US)
Film camera or analogue camera 
As opposed to digital camera.
Film noir 
Prior to the 1970s, films with "film noir" style were referred to simply as dramas or melodramas.
First Gundam
A nickname, commonly used by Japanese fans of the franchise and coined shortly after the release of Zeta Gundam. Gundam 0079 is also used in the same fashion.
First Anglo-Dutch War was renamed after the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664
Forward slash 
Before the introduction of ASCII and electronic keyboards for computers, typewriters had only one type of slash ("/"), normally produced by the unshifted key shared with the question mark. The rise of MS-DOS brought regular use of the backslash ("\") character found on computer keyboards (for specifying directory paths). Before that time the symbol "/" was known simply as a "slash" (US) or "oblique" (UK). (Other typographical names for this character are virgule and solidus. In the UK, the character was traditionally known as an oblique stroke or, more simply, an oblique. To slash means to cut with a scything motion, which is analogous to the motion of the pen as the character is handwritten.)
French franc 
The currency unit of France before the euro, which was originally the only franc, but had to be distinguished from the Belgian franc, Communauté Financière Africaine franc, and Swiss franc after those countries adopted the term.
Friction brake 
Automotive disc brake or drum brake. Coined after the advent of the regenerative brake in electric or hybrid automobiles.
Frizzen 
This component was called the "hammer" while flintlock firearms were in use. On percussion cap firearms which replaced flintlock the striking component was called the hammer and the term frizzen was applied to the hammer of flintlocks.
Full size van(US) 
Coined after the introduction of minivans by the Big Three automakers, although box trucks (bigger vehicles that were considered vans) existed prior to the big three's use of full size van.
Game Boy Classic 
Used to distinguish the original from the Game Boy Pocket, the Game Boy Color, and the Game Boy Advance.
Game Boy Mono 
see Game Boy Classic. Refers to the monochrome graphics these models produced.
GM "old-look" transit bus 
The GM old look did not originally have a name, but in 1959, a new design was released and was called the new look. After this many people started calling the older design the Old Look.
Ground Warfare 
The "Ground War" term/phrase developed some time after the widespread adoption of large scale use of aircraft as a viable weapon of war.

H–L[edit]

Hand-barrow
Originally, "barrows" suspended the load on poles carried by two people, one in front and one behind. "Wheelbarrows" are first cited by the Oxford English Dictionary to the 14th century, and in the 15th century the term hand-barrow arose to refer to the older sort of barrow, but in the British Isles the more common version was sedan chair (if a person was being carried).
Handwritten 
Crops up in the late 19th century to contrast with "typewritten."[citation needed]
Hard cider 
In Europe and Asia, "cider" refers to fermented (alcoholic) apple juice. In the U.S., "cider" often refers to non-alcoholic spiced or carbonated apple juice. "Hard cider" specifies the alcoholic version.
Hardcover book 
Prior to the invention of paperback books in the 1930s, all books were hardcover and simply referred to as "books".
Hard disk 
All disks were hard (i.e. constructed of rigid instead of flexible magnetic material) until the advent of the floppy disk.
Home movie 
To distinguish it from a cinema movie-the invention of film predates the invention of the cinema. Though "home movie" from that era may have been a misnomer since consumer-grade film cameras had yet to be available.
Horse cavalry 
Used to distinguish the now mostly obsolete original use of horses in a military mounted combat role, with the advent of tanks and other motorized vehicles (mechanized cavalry or armored cavalry) following World War I, and the use of helicopters (air cavalry) during the Vietnam War era.
Horsecar (Horse Tram in UK) 
Used to describe the horse-pulled predecessor of the modern streetcar / tram. Originally called 'street cars' or just 'cars'. After street railway companies started electrifying their systems around 1900, the term became 'electric street cars' or 'electric trams', to differentiate from the previous horse-drawn vehicles. As time went on the word 'electric' was dropped, and as automobiles began being referred to as cars, the term 'streetcar'(US) or 'tram'(UK) remained to describe a public transit vehicle that ran on rails at street level
Hot chocolate 
In the days before the invention of sweet solid chocolate for eating, the word "chocolate" was usually used to refer to the drink. For a while after the chocolate bar was invented it was referred to as "bar chocolate", but due to its rise in popularity in the latter half of the 19th century it eventually laid claim to the basic word.[3]
Human computer 
Until mechanical computers, and later electronic computers became commercially available, the term "computer", in use from the mid-17th century, meant "one who computes": a person performing mathematical calculations. Teams of people were frequently used to undertake long and often tedious calculations; the work was sometimes divided so that this could be done in parallel.
IA-16 
The unofficial reference to 16-bit x86 Intel chips, after IA-32 was coined to refer to 32-bit x86 chips like the i386 and beyond, though IA-64 referred to non-x86 chips in the Itanium family, in which x86-64 was coined to distinguish, which in turn formed the unofficial x86-32 retronym.
Indoor volleyball 
Used to differentiate from beach volleyball after the latter gained prominence.
Inground pool 
A swimming pool where the filled high water level is flush with the ground; compared to above an "above ground pool" where the entire pool is above ground level
id Tech 1 engine 
A name applied to the Doom engine. Later game engines by id Software used the "id Tech" nomenclature, beginning with id Tech 4.
King's Quest: Quest for the Crown 
The 1983 game was originally titled King's Quest until the fifth rerelease in 1987 when the subtitle was added to the box art, instructions, and all other materials. This was done to prevent confusion with the sequels which were already on the market.
Landline phone service 
With the advent of cellular or mobile phone services, traditional hard-wired phone service became popularly known as landline phones. Previously, this term was generally only used by military personnel and amateur radio operators. (In the movie The Matrix a landline phone was also referred to as a "hardline".) Even though a considerable amount of landline phone traffic is transmitted via airwaves, this term comes from the physical cabling that provides the "last mile" connection between the customer premises and local phone distribution centers. Because of the communications industry's love for acronyms, landline phone service has also been called POTS—Plain Old Telephone Service. The logical complement of this acronym, "PANS" became a backronym for "Pretty Amazing New Services". In the telecommunications industry the term wireline is used for landline phone services, to distinguish them from wireless or mobile phone services. Wireline is clearly another retronym.
Lead-acid car battery 
Before other battery chemical substances such as Ni-MH and Li-Ion were employed in hybrid and electric vehicles (although some current hybrid cars used lead-acid and some high-end conventional gasoline vehicles use Li-ion), lead-acid batteries were the only batteries for automobiles on the market; and they were also the only rechargeable ones on the market.
LED mouse 
Before laser mice came along, all optical mice employed LEDs.
Linear momentum 
Before the concept of angular momentum was developed, the only type of momentum known was linear.[citation needed]
Lithium primary battery 
Batteries involving lithium were all primary cells (disposable) before rechargeable lithium-based batteries such as lithium ion batteries (later lithium polymer battery) hit the market.
Live action 
A form of a film that consists of images consisting of predominantly actual actors and objects that exist in the actual world, as opposed to an animated film, which predominantly consists of artificial static images or objects that take advantage of the persistence of vision principle of film to give an illusion of life.
Live poker 
What casinos call the kind of poker played with cards by people sitting at a table; what many others still just call "poker"; also called a "ring game" or "cash game". The term became necessary to distinguish it from video poker, which is far more common in casinos today.
Live music 
Before the publication of recorded music, all music was live.
Live band dance
Before the advent of DJs (and then automated playlists), all dances had live music.
Low-beam headlights 
simply just headlights before high beams were introduced on motor vehicles.
Luggable computer 
The first generation of computers marketed as "portable", such as the Kaypro or the Osborne series, were quite bulky and were heavier than a bowling ball. The weight was mostly due the fact they had a conventional CRT-type monitor built right in. When the first laptop computers came out, the earlier, heavier portable machines became referred to as "luggables".

M–P[edit]

Macintosh 128k 
Originally named the Macintosh, changed to distinguish from the Macintosh 512k.
Mainframe computer 
When minicomputers (which were the size and shape of a desk or credenza) were introduced in the early 1970s, existing systems that often consisted of multiple large racks of equipment received the name "mainframe", alluding to the vertical cabinets or "frames" in which they were installed.
Manual transmission (also standard transmission
Automotive transmissions were all manual before the invention of the automatic transmission.
Meatspace or "meat life" or "real life" 
All of physical reality, as distinguished from cyberspace.
Mechanical fuel injection 
The amount of fuel squirted into an internal combustion engine by a fuel injection system was, before integrated circuitry became applied to motor vehicle engines, originally regulated by a calibrated mechanical linkage. What made for the retronym was the more precise Electronic Fuel Injection, which employed more sensors.
Mechanical mouse 
before the optical mouse was introduced, all computer mice had a mechanical ball.
Mechanical watch 
Prior to the introduction of the first quartz movement watches in the late 1960s, all watches used a mechanical movement.
Monaural sound, monophonic sound or mono sound 
Often simplified to mono. Before stereo sound was introduced, mono sound was simply just called sound.
Muzzleloader 
For centuries virtually all firearms were loaded from the muzzle, so there was no need for a term to distinguish this characteristic until the general adoption of breech-loading firearms in the 19th century.
Natural language 
A language, used by humans, that evolved naturally in its society. Contrast with computer programming languages or constructed languages. Often referred to as human language.
Naturally aspirated engines 
Internal combustion engines that use vacuum and venturi effect to draw the air and fuel mixture into the cylinders, without fuel injection, turbo-charger, or supercharger.
Nissan Tsuru 
Mexican-market version of the Nissan Sentra based on the 1991-94 model still in production as of 2013.
non-album single 
Before albums came along, all record singles were just called "singles", this was back in the days of the 78s.
Old Look
A type of transit bus, which gained this name after the introduction of the New Look bus. Both were made by GM
Old Testament
In the Jewish tradition, the Hebrew Bible is known as the Tanakh.
Optical zoom 
The advent of digital cameras (and accompanying digital zoom) necessitated this retronym, describing the "analog" method of achieving close-up using a zoom lens.
Opposite-sex marriage 
coined after the advent of same-sex marriage.
Organic farming, organic food 
Farming practiced without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and so forth; and the food so produced.
Over-the-board chess (also OTB chess
Chess played in real time using a physical chessboard, as opposed to computer chess or correspondence chess.
Overground train
Used in the UK to refer to trains that run above ground throughout, as opposed to Underground trains which only run partly overground. (The key distinction is that "Overground" trains are not fully integrated into the Underground system.)
Paleoconservative 
Before the advent of the neoconservative movement in the 1970s and its breakthrough success in the 1990s, American conservatism was largely defined by what would be referred to in the 2000s (decade) as paleoconservatism.
Pararescue jumper 
The term Pararescue jumper is a retronym of the initials "PJ", which were used on Air Force Form 5 (Aircrew Flight Log) to identify anyone on board in order to jump from the aircraft. Pararescuemen originally had no "in flight" duties, and were listed only as "PJ" on the Form 5. The Pararescue position eventually grew to include duties as an aerial gunner and scanner on rotary wing aircraft, a duty now performed by aerial gunners. Currently, aircrew qualified Pararescuemen are recorded using aircrew position identifier "J" ("Pararescue Member") on AFTO form 781.
Paper book
E-books being more common by the day, it's now necessary to distinguish books printed on paper from books distributed in a digital form.
Paper copy, hard copy 
With the proliferation of exchange of documents in the form of electronic files, physical copies of documents acquired this retronym. Occasionally extended to the copying devices; i.e. paper copiers. The jocular substitute dead-tree copy is sometimes used.
Parallel ATA (PATA) 
The original ATA interface was parallel; the qualification became necessary when Serial ATA was introduced.
Permanent magnet 
Used for an object that is permanently magnetized rather than an electromagnet.
Pickup truck 
Before SUVs (often referred to as "trucks") were introduced, pickup trucks were those on a sturdy frame with high ground clearance. The term SUV was not coined in the 1990s; prior to then, SUVs were referred to as "trucks" and sometimes "cars".[citation needed]
Pipe organ 
Before smaller reed-based organs and harmoniums were invented, every organ used large pipes.
Plain old telephone service (POTS)
PlayStation 1 or PS1
initially to distinguish from the PlayStation 2, it now also distinguishes from the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable. A smaller version of the original PlayStation was named the PSone, released after the PS2.
Primordial element and Transient element 
Elements that are found in nature, as opposed to those that have to be created in the lab using a collider.
Post sedan or post coupe 
In the United States this indicates a car with a full-height B-pillar, as opposed to a pillarless (half-height B-pillar) hardtop. Generally used only in referring to classic cars from the 1950 to 1980 period because fashion and safety regulations dictate nearly all modern cars are post models.
Pragmaticism 
In 1905, in order to differentiate his original version from more recent forms of Pragmatism, Charles Sanders Peirce renamed his version to Pragmaticism, a term "ugly enough to be safe from kidnappers."
Pre-Dreadnought battleship 
The revolution in battleship design brought about by the construction of HMS Dreadnought resulted in almost all the battleships built before her completion becoming known as "pre-Dreadnought battleships", whereas before they had simply been "battleships".
Primary cell
Also, less formally non-rechargeable battery; Before the introduction of rechargeable batteries, all cells were primary, then when rechargeable batteries came along (lead-acid battery being the first), rechargeable batteries would formally be called "secondary cells".
Prime lens
A camera lens with a fixed focal length (e.g. 28 mm), as opposed to a zoom lens, which can cover a range of focal lengths (e.g. 28–105 mm). Before the invention of zoom lenses, all camera lenses had a fixed focal length, so they were just called "lenses".
Procedural programming
Before object-oriented programming was invented in the 1980s, there was just programming.
Program Files (x86)
Before x86-64 versions of Microsoft Windows were released, all Windows applications since Windows 95 were installed in the directory back when it was simply just C:\Program Files.
Prop airplane 
As jet aircraft became the primary people movers of the airways, the older propeller-based technology received this occasional shorthand nickname to distinguish it.
Pulse dialing 
After touch tone dialing on telephones became common, the older dialing standard became known as pulse dialing.
Push lawnmower 
With the introduction of lawnmowers powered by gasoline (petrol or petroleum spirit outside the U.S.) and electricity, the manually propelled lawnmower became known as the push mower. After self-propelled "riding" mowers became common, the term push mower was also applied to non-riding mowers.

R–Z[edit]

Real numbers 
coined after the development of the imaginary numbers.
Real mode 
before protected mode had been introduced in the 80286 processor, the term "real mode" was not in use for MS-DOS memory management.
Real tennis 
was once known simply as tennis, but came into use at the end of the 19th century to distinguish it from the game of lawn tennis patented in 1874. The term "real tennis" has become more vague now since video game tennis has come along. Therefore real tennis is now court tennis.
Red Book audio CD 
At first, all audio CDs complied with the Red Book standard. Then came other implementations of the audio CD, such as super audio CD, MP3 CDs, and DVD-Audio, and the original is now referred to as Red Book audio to differentiate between different standards.
Reel-to-reel or open reel 
Tape recorders were originally simply tape recorders, as they all used a pair of open reels to hold the magnetic recording medium. The term reel-to-reel was introduced when various forms of cassette tape formats became popular.
Reflective liquid crystal display 
before LCD displays had backlighting, all LCD displays required the reflection of room light or sunlight in order to see the screen.
Regular Nintendo the informal slang for Nintendo Entertainment System coined when Super Nintendo Entertainment System was introduced to the market.
Rotary telephone or dial telephone 
The kind of telephone in common use before touch-tone telephones.
Rugby union 
To differentiate it from its descendant, rugby league. Like hockey, the original term of rugby is still widespread.
Scalar processors 
As opposed to Vector processors.
Scripted series 
Created in the wake of the success of reality television, the term applies to both fiction and non-fiction television with an identified writer or writers. The term can be misleading since reality television is almost never wholly improvised and often includes writing of some kind.[citation needed]
Seventy-eight (78) rpm records 
Before the advent of 33⅓ rpm and 45 rpm vinyl records, these were known simply as records, phonograph records or gramophone records.
short file name 
(officially referred to as 8.3 filename) before the advent of long filenames. FAT file systems only had 11 characters, three of which form the extension. The ISO 9660 filesystem for CD-ROMs has similar specifications to conform to the FAT specs.
Silent film 
In the earliest days of the film industry, all films were without recorded sound. Once "talkies" became the norm, it became necessary to specify that a particular film was "silent."
Sit-down restaurant 
With the rise of fast-food and take-out restaurants, the "standard" restaurant received a new name in the United States. (In the United Kingdom, fast food and takeaway (takeout) outlets are not normally referred to as "restaurants", so the "sit-down" qualifier is not necessary.)
Snail mail (also known as land mail, paper mail, p-mail, and postal mail
Non-electronic mail delivered to physical locations, such as one's home or business. Before email and voice mail, all mail was physical, and much slower by comparison — thus, the dysphemistic "snail" appellation. Compare surface mail, below.
Snow skiing
Water skiing now necessitates this differentiation. This, however, only applies to an area where both "snow" as well as "water" skiing are likely. "Snow skiing" would not be mentioned in the Alpine regions, unless large lakes offered the availability of water skiing.
Solo motorcycle 
So called instead of motorcycle when some were being built with a sidecar. (see disputed retronyms below for more info).
standard AUX input (standard auxiliary input) 
The common name for AUX audio inputs that doesn't employ an iPod dock connector, USB, optical/coaxial S/PDIF digital audio or proprietary mechanical standards that employ multiple standards alongside proprietary audio signaling standards. It usually refers to 1/8th inch TRS connectors, but sometimes it can refer to a set of red and white RCA stereo jacks.
Star Trek: The Original Series
The series' actual title Star Trek is now often used to refer collectively to the original series and its multitude of spin-offs.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 
Originally released in 1977 under the title Star Wars. The new title was applied in a 1981 re-release after the decision to make additional films, allowing Star Wars to refer to the entire series.
Static electricity 
see triboelectricity, below.
Steam train 
In the 19th century, before the advent of electric and diesel-powered trains, steam trains were just "trains".
Studio recording, studio album 
Before live albums, music for distribution on records was only recorded in a studio.
Surface mail 
Traditional mail, delivered by road, rail, and ship, retrospectively named following the development of airmail. Compare snail mail, above.[4]
Survivor: Borneo 
Broadcast as just Survivor. When the show subsequently used other locales, the location of the first season was added to the title to distinguish it.
Terrestrial radio
As opposed to satellite radio.
Textile top convertible 
Before retractable hardtops became popular, convertibles mostly had textile tops which folded when stowed away for a top-down ride.
Traditional animation
With the rise of computer animation, hand-drawn, cel-based (or "2D") animation is now referred to as this.
Transformers: Generation 1 
referring to the original Transformers toyline which ran from 1984 to 1992, and the assorted tie-in media. Then known only as "The Transformers," when the sequel series, Transformers: Generation 2 launched by Hasbro in 1993, all previous subject matter was dubbed "Generation 1" - many individuals did this independently, as it is a logical progression, and when the online fandom began growing in the 1990s, the term became the definitive one for that era. The term subsequently made it into official use through toy reissues and comic books, most notably on Japanese toy packaging.
Triboelectricity 
Electricity was so named from the Greek word for amber, because of the discovery that if it was rubbed (generating what is now called triboelectricity) it would attract objects (due to a charge of static electricity). Electric currents and other forms of generation were discovered later.
Tube amplifier 
Tube amplifiers for musical instruments were largely replaced by "transistor" (or solid state) amplifiers during the 1960s and 1970s.
Tube TV or CRT TV 
Originally, all televisions used a cathode ray tube (CRT) to produce a TV image. But with the recent popularity of newer television technologies such as LCD, plasma, or DLP, some stores now describe the sets that still use a picture tube as tube TVs or CRT TVs.
Two-door coupe
Before four-door cars started to have coupe-like styling in recent years, coupe mostly referred to 2-door cars. Examples of 4-door cars that have coupe used as a marketing term are the BMW X6 SUV and the Dodge Charger sedan which re-uses the name of a 1970s 2-door car.
Ultimate Doom
Before Doom II, Ultimate Doom was originally just simply Doom. Doom was originally just a mail-order game, then when Doom II sold successfully in stores, Doom was re-released as a retail product, it was dubbed Ultimate Doom to differentiate from Doom II. It added a new episode called Thy Flesh Consumed.
Uncontrolled road (or uncontrolled highway) 
Before the concept of controlled-access roads, which some call expressways came along, even predating automobiles, all roads had direct access to private property or public event or government grounds. When the controlled-access roads came along, they helped to virtually eliminate direct driveway access to private property or parking lots with only select crossroads for direct access. One had to use the term uncontrolled road to differentiate. However, the introduction of freeways (which other countries referred to as autoroutes, motorways and whatnot) further complicated matters by necessitating the use of the term at-grade expressway (see above). Recent uncontrolled roads have even adopted qualities of freeways and expressways such as paved shoulders (sometimes with rumble strips), freeway speed limits, and grade-separated ramp junctions (though most are just the at-grade "guest" of diamond junctions).
Unstyled John Deere tractor
After industrial design was applied to the sheet metal styling of John Deere tractors, the distinction unstyled was retronymously applied to earlier models whose model name was the same, for example, styled Model A versus unstyled Model A
Upright bicycle
The advent of the Recumbent bicycle sometimes requires a speaker to make the distinction between that and the conventional "upright bicycle".
Vanilla Doom
The advent of source ports for Doom have altered gameplay behavior.
Viennese waltz 
The original waltz, as distinct from other styles of waltz that have since developed.
Vinyl record 
A term that arose to distinguish 33⅓- and 45-rpm phonograph records (LPs and 45s) from the compact discs (CDs) that have since replaced them for nearly all physical records and record albums.
Visible light 
Before the discovery of invisible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, all light was considered visible.
Water-activated stamps (gummed stamps) 
The predominant kind of postage stamp before self-adhesive stamps became popular.
Whole milk 
Milk was formerly available in just one version, with the cream included, and benefited eventually by pasteurization and homogenization. But it was still called simply milk. This variety of milk is now referred to in the U.S. as whole milk (3.25% milkfat) to distinguish it from 2% (reduced fat) milk, 1% (low fat) milk, and skim milk (nearly no fat). In the UK, the terms whole milk (also full-cream milk or full-fat milk) (3.5%), semi-skimmed milk (about 1.5%) and skimmed milk (almost no fat) are commonly used.
Win16 
The original, 16-bit Windows API, as distinguished from the newer Win32 and Win64.
Zorro I
The original Amiga (Amiga 1000) computer expansion bus was simply "Zorro" before the Amiga Zorro II was developed for the next generation Amiga, the Amiga 2000.
Zune 30 
Used to describe the first-generation Zune device; the "30" was added after the release of the Zune 4, 8, and 80

Geographic retronyms[edit]

Proper names
These are proper names for the described regions, or corridors.[citation needed]

Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike 
A section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Breezewood and Hustontown which was bypassed by a new alignment that bypassed the tunnels because it was too costly to blast away more rock to widen the travel lanes.
Asia Minor 
The name Asia was first applied to the mainland east of the Aegean islands, and later extended to the greater landmass of which that is a peninsula.
Baja California 
The name California was first applied to the peninsula (thought to be an island) now known as Baja ("Lower"), and later extended – and then restricted – to Alta ("Upper") California, and finally to the current U.S. state.
East Indies 
After Columbus landed in the West Indies.
East Prussia 
Prussia began as a duchy in what is now Poland. As the highest-ranking dignity of the Hohenzollern dynasty, the name came to be applied to their territories stretching across Germany. The name East Prussia became more significant when it was separated from the rest of Prussia and Germany by the Polish Corridor.
First Chinatown (Toronto) 
Toronto's original Chinatown at Dundas and Elizabeth Streets in The Ward, known as such until the construction of the new city hall in the 1960s, which forced Chinatown to relocate westward to its current location at Dundas Street and Spadina Avenue, known as Old Chinatown. Newer Chinatowns, such as East Chinatown, Mississauga Chinatown, Agincourt, and Markham, have since been established in the Greater Toronto Area.
Great Britain 
Britons fleeing the Germanic invasions settled in Armorica which became Brittany or Little Britannia.
Lower Saxony 
The kingdom and duchies of Saxony[disambiguation needed] are outside the original lowland territory of the Saxon people.
Manhattan Chinatown 
For a long time New York City had only one Chinatown. However, there are now large Chinese communities in Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn therefore a need has developed to differentiate between the city's three Chinatowns.
Old Chinatown 
London's original Chinatown (destroyed in The Blitz) was in Limehouse; the new Chinatown is in Soho. Also used in Houston, TX to the Chinatown district located east of the George R. Brown Convention Center and south of BBVA/Compass Stadium.
Old World
After Columbus landed in the Americas ("The New World").
Old Northwest and Old Southwest
Regions formerly at these extreme corners of the United States.

General descriptions[edit]

These are less official descriptions that are commonly used.

Contiguous United States or Lower 48 
Referred to simply as The United States before Alaska and Hawaii, which are American exclaves, became states.

Historiographic retronyms[edit]

Aztec Empire 
Term coined by Alexander von Humboldt in the early 19th Century to differentiate between the pre-Hispanic "Mexican empire" and the then new post-Hispanic one (this, in turn, became known as the First Mexican Empire upon the French-backed enthronization of Maximilian I in 1864).
Byzantine Empire 
Term coined in 1557 to name the East Roman Empire, then defunct by over a century, in the historical period following the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. The entity was commonly known as 'Roman Empire' to its inhabitants and 'Empire of the Greeks' to contemporary Western Europeans.
Gran Colombia 
Historians' term for the first "Republic of Colombia", which included what are now Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama.
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 
Term coined in the 20th century, after the restoration of separate Poland and Lithuania as independent states.
Weimar Republic 
Used to refer to the German Reich during the period in which it was a liberal democracy, prior to being taken over by the Nazi Party.
World War I/First World War 
Originally this was called "The Great War" and commonly believed to be "the war to end all wars". However, when a second war enveloped Europe, Asia, and much of the Pacific, it became necessary to distinguish them. This convention has been used for many series of wars, going back as far as the First Peloponnesian War or earlier. Most recently, the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf, formerly called "Desert Storm" or just the "Gulf War", is now (since the 2003 invasion of Iraq) often referred to as "The First Gulf War".

Airports[edit]

When an airport consists of only one passenger facility, most people just call it "The airport" or "The terminal". But when an airport expands, it is often necessary to give the original building a retronymic adjective to avoid confusion. While some airports just rename older terminals or concourse with letters or numbers (e.g. Terminal 1 or Concourse B), other methods include:

  • Cardinal directions – when Newark opened Terminals A and B in the early 1970s, the existing passenger terminal was renamed the "North Terminal".
  • Proper namesDetroit Metro Airport only had one passenger terminal until 1966, at which point the existing facility was identified as the "L.C. Smith Terminal".

Disputed retronyms[edit]

Note: These terms imply age-old concepts, but the terms are usually applied to newer concepts with similar qualities. Since some of these terms fall under different contexts, that's where the confusion comes in.

2.5D 
2.5D generally refers to computer data which uses 2D plane data to render in 3D, and sometimes 2D sprites in that environment too; in which Doom and Duke Nukem 3D famously had this. However 3D structures in general have existed before computers, but the term 2.5D was coined after computer games (and CAD) fully went 3D.
Expressway 
The term expressway often refers to continuous highways with no private driveways but sometimes they have at-grade intersections. But in some jurisdictions it is synonymous with freeways, which have 100% grade separations. The term expressway wasn't coined until freeways were built, but the expressway concept itself has existed before freeways, in which because the term is sometimes synonymous with freeway, this is why the term at-grade expressway is sometimes used in reference to expressways with at-grade intersections.
Mechless car stereo 
Most car stereo had no "moving parts" prior to the introduction of interchangeable media such as vinyl records (Highway Hifi by Chrysler), 8-track cartridges, compact cassettes and CDs, but recent omission of CD players (cassette player omission prior) has left the systems mechless when solid-state means to play audio with MP3 and other file format support such as secure digital, compact flash and USB came along, of which many of these systems have an analog AUX input. The term mechless usually refers to more recent systems, thus it disputes its status as a "retronym". Occasionally, many car stereos are AM/FM only without AUX inputs, in which it is possible to use FM transmitters with them. Another thing that disputes this retronym, is that earlier AM/FM tuners had moving parts of their own just for the adjustment of frequencies (i.e. a string-driven variable capacitor and a static frequency display with a moving needle) prior to the introduction of digital readout with endless loop tuning (and later endless loop seek tuning) in the early 1980s.
Nintendo 2DS 
Before Nintendo 3DS came out, all Nintendo DSes were 2D to the meatspace level. However the product officially known as the Nintendo 2DS is simply a console that is capable of running 3DS games but without the parallax effect. 2DS doesn't refer to pre-3DS models of which is why this is a "disputed retronym".
Solo motorcycle 
So called instead of motorcycle when some were being built with a sidecar. However, this retronym has gone into dispute because the so-called solo motorcycle can accommodate two passengers by itself.
Xbox One 
The next-generation Xbox chose the name Xbox One for unknown reasons. One would think that the original Xbox would apply under that name but now the name "original Xbox" itself has become the disambiguating name, seeing as the introduction of the Xbox 360 almost 10 years prior to Xbox one has started the ambiguity.

Double retronyms[edit]

Double-retronyms in general may just be the differentiation of adjectives and nouns that form retronyms in the first place, but there are other scenarios, such as political bodies splitting apart where there is simultaneous coinage of new names but no confirmed "original" is claimed. The nouns are in alphabetical order:

North Carolina and South Carolina
In general this area is referred to as The Carolinas, but this former province was split around 1729.
East Germany and West Germany
The splitting of Germany from 1945 to 1990 after World War II led to the construction of the infamous Berlin Wall in 1961.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Safire, William (January 7, 2007). "Retronym". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  2. ^ Safire, William (November 1, 1992). "Retronym Watch". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  3. ^ Some dictionaries however, still define "chocolate" as a drink as one of the definitions. American Heritage Dictionary entry for "chocolate"
  4. ^ Cognitive English grammar, by Günter Radden, René Dirven, p. 4