K is for Known As, Formerly

What changes in nomenclature have YOU noticed in your lifetime?

The Artist Formerly Known As PrinceI’m always interested in things that used to be called something else.

Retronyms are words that evolve because technology changes. There used to be things called guitars; then electric guitars were invented, so guitars became acoustic guitars. Clocks became analog clocks when digital clocks came on the scene. Before minicomputers appeared in the 1970s, all computers were what are now called mainframe computers.

Then there are political reasons for change. “Even old New York was once New Amsterdam, ” the song ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’ tells us; there are thousands of changes like this; in my lifetime, many took place in Africa with decolonialization. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Idlewild Airport became JFK; Cape Canaveral became Cape Kennedy, but, interestingly, changed back!

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