25 Retronyms That Will Help You Communicate With Your Grandparents

A retronym is any term that has been renamed after something similar but newer has come into being. For example, the term “analog watch” was coined when digital watches were invented to distinguish between the two. Before that, there were only “watches”. These are 25 retronyms that will help you communicate with your grandparents.

25. English Muffin

Originally, all muffins were English, so the term muffin = English muffin.

24. Field Hockey

It was known only as “hockey” until ice hockey and roller hockey came around.

23. Hot Chocolate

Before the invention of sweet solid chocolate the word “chocolate” referred to the drink.

22. Hard Disk

Until the invention of floppy disk all disks were hard.

21. Corn on the cob

Before canned corn was widely available “corn on the cob” was simply “corn”

20. Real numbers

The term was coined after the development of imaginary numbers

19. Asia Minor

The name Asia was first applied to modern day Turkey, and later extended to the rest of the continent. Asia Minor now refers to that original region.

18. Baja California

The name “California” originally referred to this peninsula. Once it came to refer to the state, the peninsula became Baja , or lower, California.

17. World War I

World War I was originally called the Great War or “war to end all wars”.

16. Curved quotes

It wasn’t until the advent of typewriters that quotes became straight.

15. Eyeglasses

Before the invention of sunglasses all glasses were eyeglasses.

14. Forward slash

Before the age of computers, typewriters only had one type of slash, the forward slash (/).

13. Handwritten

The word was coined in the late 19th century to contrast with “typewritten”

12. Hardcover book

Prior to the rise in popularity of the paperback book in the 1930s, the term “book” was synonymous with “hardcover books”.

11. Horse Cavalry

Originally the term “cavalry” referred exclusively to horse mounted soldiers. With the invention of tanks and helicopters, “armored” and “air cavalry” became popular.

10. Live music

Here’s one that might be hard for you to wrap your head around, but before the rise of recorded music…all music was live.

9. Pickup truck

The term pickup truck used to refer to any vehicle on a sturdy frame with high ground clearance. With the invention of other types of such vehicles (SUVs), the term was shifted to mean any truck with flatbed.

8. Silent film

In the early days of the film industry all films were silent. Once “talkies” became popular it was necessary to specify.

7. Sit down restaurant

With the rapid rise of fast food and take out in the United States, it became necessary to distinguish between different types of restaurants. In England, such a descriptor does not exist.

6. Snow skiing

Until the advent of water skiing all skiing referred to snow skiing.

5. Railroad car

Before the invention of the automobile all cars were railroad cars.

4. Landline

When “phone” stopped referring to a communication device connected to the kitchen wall, it became necessary to distinguish things.

3. Static electricity

For thousands of years the term electricity referred to what modern society calls static or triboelectricity

2. Whole milk

Milk was formerly available in only one version…whole. With the advent of reduced fat milks it became necessary to clarify.

1. Hand-barrow

Originally barrows referred to a load being carried on poles between two people. With the invention of the wheelbarrow, it became necessary to be more specific.

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