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Thanks to my students, I learned about retronyms a week or so ago. For those too tired to click, an example of a retronym is the acoustic guitar, which was formerly called just a guitar until its electrified cousin came along and a retronym was needed to distinguish the two. World War I is another example. At the time, nobody had the foresight to start enumerating the war(s) to end all wars.
So I throw down the gauntlet -- what will be the next retronym? Human professor? Terran apartment? Nonvoluntary income tax?
And what happens when an oxymoron meets a retronym? Do they beget an oxynym or a retromoron?
I was about to suggest the First Battle of Bull Run as another example, but I see Wikipedia beat me to it.
Posted by: Rob at February 26, 2008 7:40 PM
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