Your Way to Fame and Glory: Invent Retronyms!

You might have heard of synonyms, antonyms and homonyms but what about retronyms?
Retronyms are new names for already existing words that are created due to the rise of new versions of themselves. Confusing? Some examples are:

– Acoustic guitar (Due to the introduction of the electric guitar)
– Paper newspapers (vs. online newspapers)
– Natural grass (vs. plastic grass).

All of these words are obviously created because of new inventions which often is the case for retronyms. If you say that you are going to buy a guitar, you probably get the question “Electric guitar?” to which you have to reply “No, an acoustic guitar”. That’s why the new word is needed (Even though the old one is preserved).

Anyhow, this naturally leads to the question: What retronyms will be created in the future? As this thought struck me, I realized that this was actually my shot at fame and glory. I would be able to take credit for the creation of brand new words, before the objects they were supposed to describe were even invented. I could almost feel the limelight on my brow as I geared into action, coming up with my very own future retronyms.

As inspiration for inventions that are about to happen (possibly according to my nerdy self) I used this list. With it I came up with the following five future retronyms:

1. First of all, what will happen with the word car once the flying car is introduced? Rolling car? Ground-car? No, I think that it will simply be called land going car with reference to the existing word “land going vehicle”. The following conversation sounds pretty good to me:

– I’m going to buy a car.
– Flying?
– No, land going.

2. The replicator technology used in Star Trek (with materializing any dish or beverage out of any material) will lead to a need of renaming our vending machines. My hypothesis is that we’ll have vending machines, replicating vending machines (RVM’s) and non-transforming vending machines (NTVM’s).

3. The next retronym is easy. Cleaning robots will bring the word human cleaning help forth.

4. Many also believe that in the future, everyone will walk around surrounded by force fields protecting them against all imaginable dangers. These force field umbrellas will probably banish normal umbrellas into being called rain umbrellas. (You can stand under my rain umbrella, ella, ella.)

5. Finally, laser guns and laser rifles will have to be invented for our need to wage war in space. These will most likely give rise to the retronyms bullet guns and bullet rifles.

So that was my list: Six new words that I am the sole originator of. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? Actually, you can easily do it yourself. Come up with your own retronyms and post them in the comments or on our Facebook page and I will mention them in my next article. And don’t worry: You will get full credit! 😉


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