New word department. . . Actually two new words:
“Retronym” is a word coined by Frank Mankiewicz, George McGovern’s campaign director, to delineate previously unnecessary distinctions. Examples include “acoustic guitar,” “analog watch,” “natural turf,” “two-parent family,” and “offline publication.” Bob Woodward’s new book, Bush at War, introduces a new Washington retronym: “kinetic” warfare. . . .
In common usage, “kinetic” is an adjective used to describe motion, but the Washington meaning derives from its secondary definition, “active, as opposed to latent.” Dropping bombs and shooting bullets—you know, killing people—is kinetic. But the 21st-century military is exploring less violent and more high-tech means of warfare, such as messing electronically with the enemy’s communications equipment or wiping out its bank accounts. These are “non-kinetic.”
Can you think of any other retronyms? (There used to be no need for “two-parent family,” since what other kind of family was there? Now we need a term for the distinction of a family having two parents. Now that we have “gay marriage,” I suppose we’ll need a retronym for “straight marriage.”)
Can you think of any other uses of “kinetic” (involving action) and “non-kinetic” (not involving action) for a retronym other than for warfare? Say, for a program in its planning stage being “non-kinetic” and when it is implemented being “kinetic.”