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A term invented to distinguish a subclass of things from new members of the superclass, where the distinction was previously not necessary, since the old subclass had been all there was of the superclass.

For example, the retronyms "snail mail" and "paper mail" were coined by those for who "mail" was likely to mean electronic mail.

While the English language in general has a few retronyms ("whole milk", "snow skiing", "acoustic guitar"), hacker jargon is necessarily (at points capriciously) rich in retronyms, e.g. plaintext, natural language, impact printer, eyeball search, biological virus.

References in periodicals archive ?
Retronyms are also celebrating the Outer Spaces launch with a DopplerPad sale, taking 20% off its original price for a limited time.
Retronyms is holding a video contest coinciding with the release of DopplerPad to see who can create the best DopplerPad track.
About Retronyms: Retronyms is a small band of programmers and designers based in San Francisco that write software for the iPhone, Mac, PC and Unix.
CONTACT: Rebekah Fugate, Community Relations Manager, Retronyms, +1-415-956-9625, rebekah@retronyms.
CONTACT: Rebekah Fugate, Community Relations Manager of Retronyms, +1-415-956-9625, rebekah@retronyms.
Zach Saul, a co-founder of the Retronyms, said, "We're excited to be able to announce this milestone, because as far as we know, we're the first paid app to get this many sales.
Dan Walton, another co-founder of the Retronyms, said, "We designed Recorder to be as versatile as possible.