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Is there a verb that means "retroactively create"?

For example:

John wanted to retroactively create a relationship with his estranged father.

I'm not looking for a word that means "retroactively improve" (e.g. gentrify).

Apologies for the split infinitive, if it offends you.

EDIT: I suppose I'm really looking for a word that means "go back and change one thing into another thing." John has a relationship with his father: an estranged one. He'd like to change it into something better. Maybe this blurs the distinction between "retroactively create" and "retroactively improve," but I'm looking for a word more like the former.

EDIT 2: The downvotes and sarcasm aren't necessary. I had a question and I asked it. Maybe there's not an answer... but there's certainly not a reason to berate me for inquiring.

"Retroactively create" is, indeed, paradoxical. I'm looking for a way to say that a person has recognized a mistake, and has tried to "erase" it rather than fix it.

Another example:

After the public realized the evidence was insufficient, the administration tried to ______ reasons for its behavior.

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5  
If time travel were easier, I'm sure this would be a much-used word. –  onomatomaniak Nov 29 '11 at 8:36
    
I don't get it. I agree with @Kris that "retroactively create" is paradoxical. You can't take an action that has an tangible effect on the past. Maybe you just mean "repair"? –  tenfour Nov 29 '11 at 19:59
2  
There is a term for this used in the comic book industry - retcon (retroactive continuity). I think you could use this term (somewhat metaphorically) to refer to real life. –  Olaf4 Nov 29 '11 at 20:36

4 Answers 4

Rework his strained relationship? The phrase retroactively create sounds rather self-contradictory.

In this particular instance, rework also sends the message that John wants to really work at it, which of course is a different matter.

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1  
I think the problem with OP's question (and hence the problem with this answer) is simply that English doesn't have verbs that include time travel as a piece of the action. –  onomatomaniak Nov 29 '11 at 11:36
    
@onomatomaniak: Does any other natural language? –  Kris Nov 29 '11 at 11:38
    
I can only speak for three, and none of them do. –  onomatomaniak Nov 29 '11 at 11:47
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However, once time travel is invented, time travelers will have flooded the past, and the word you want will have retroactively been part of the language all along. –  Peter Shor Nov 29 '11 at 21:36

hmm - so, to rephrase, you're looking for a word or phrase that means "take an existing object or condition and create it differently, as if from scratch." Is this correct? If so, I'd start with "recreate" or "rebuild".

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I think the term you're looking for has nothing to do with "retroactive". When John creates this new relationship, it will have no effect on the past.

I would suggest:

  • to reform / rework the relationship
  • to make amends
  • to patch things up
  • to repair / fix / mend the relationship
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ah - I like reform in this context. –  Olaf4 Nov 29 '11 at 20:23

If nothing else suits the OP's purpose, we could think on the lines of atone.

Strictly, this is (was) not a right fit (when I first read the question on Nov.29). But then, who knows, the OP might be looking for something like this. Or, maybe not.

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