from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A word or phrase created because an existing term that was once used alone needs to be distinguished from a term referring to a new development, as acoustic guitar in contrast to electric guitar or analog watch in contrast to digital watch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A new word or phrase coined for an old object or concept whose original name has become used for something else or is no longer unique (such as acoustic guitar where guitar used to mean this but can now also refer to an electric guitar).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a word introduced because an existing term has become inadequate


retr(o)- + -onym.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
retro- + -onym; coined by Frank Mankiewicz and popularized by William Safire in The New York Times (Wiktionary)



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