One source of new words in our language is retronyms. These develop when, due to changing technology, it becomes necessary to modify an old word in order to specify what we are talking about. I'd been thinking of doing a post on retronyms for a few weeks, then discovered today a short blurb on the subject in the September Readers Digest (Canadian edition, page 26). Their definition: "new terms coined to distinguish existing objects or ideas from innovations improving or replacing them."
The RD blurb (it wasn't an article, just a page filler) gave several examples, so I had to think of different ones. Here is my list.
- film camera
- incandescent light bulb
- land-line telephone
- steam locomotive
- standard or manual transmission
- organic farming
At one time all cameras used film so the "film" designation only became necessary with the invention of digital cameras. Similarly with light bulbs, telephones and the rest, there used to be only one type.
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