We have a word “Gala-kei-ガラ携” which is an abbreviation of “Galapagos (shortened as Gala” and “mobile phone (shortened as “Kei”) meaning outdated mobile phone as opposed to advanced smart-phones in Japanese. We also call a person who sticks to old way of thinking “Galapagosu jin –ガラパゴス人.” Jin means people.

I heard in this site that most nouns can be used as a verb as well. For instance, an aggressive restaurant waitress retorts the patron by snapping back "Don't you 'young lady' me, smart guy," to the patron's growl,"You listen to me young lady," in the episode (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2014/06/lunch-at-gitlitzs.html) in the New Yorker magazine I quoted in my previous post, "What does “There she blows’” mean?"

Is the word “galapagos” transferable into adjective (e.g. galapagos mind-set) and verb (e.g. galapagosize) in English to mean “outdated” or "anachronistic" in the same way as ‘fossil’ verbalized into ‘fossilize’?

If it’s not transferable, what would it be the equivalent English word to “Garakei,” Garapagosu jin” and “Garapagostic bigotory?

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    The first time I have seen your name with the diamond - congratulations! Jun 25, 2014 at 12:26
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    Moderator diamond
    – mplungjan
    Jun 25, 2014 at 12:34
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    Oh well. Thank you. I didn't notice that. Jun 25, 2014 at 12:41
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    I've never seen it before (in English). Is "Galapagos" here in reference to the famed Galapagos Islands of Charles Darwin fame? If so, it's an exceedingly odd usage and I hope it never takes root in English. I would agree with @mplungjan's answer of "dino-" (prefix) or "dinosaur" (adjective) being more customary in English.
    – Phil Perry
    Jun 25, 2014 at 15:29
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    In English the Galapagos Islands do not have connotations of antiquity or obsolescence. They are associated with evolution and new things. I have been there, I felt no sense of age at all. Perhaps this is why the word is not used as an adjective. As others have said, use Dinosaur.
    – Chenmunka
    Jun 25, 2014 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


In English the word most matching your usage is


  1. a fossil reptile of the Mesozoic era, often reaching an enormous size.

  2. a person or thing that is outdated or has become obsolete because of failure to adapt to changing circumstances.

For example

  • I love my dinosaur phone

    The real reason I haven’t upgraded my phone – even though it would be convenient, even though everyone else has, even though smartphones are really incredibly cool and aesthetically pleasing and goddamn I love fingerprinting technology ... is that I don’t really need to.

  • The Office Phone Is Not a Dinosaur.

    Office phones really are very much in use even if many of us also have a cell phone at work.


    Some people like to have the latest and greatest technology when it comes to cell phones, but others are perfectly content to use their old phones until they go obsolete. If you're on the latter end, take a look at these 9 signs that it's time to upgrade your phone. After all, you can't use your 'dinosaur' phone forever..

Other usage

  • Bitcoin Is a High-Tech Dinosaur Soon to Be Extinct

    Bitcoin is the future, they tell us; it heralds a future where private, stateless currencies will dethrone the dollar and other monetary dinosaurs.
    Sorry, but Bitcoin isn’t the future. If anything, it’s a throwback to an earlier era, when private currencies circulated alongside government-sponsored money. I

  • I've never spent a lot of time on Java before; I'm such a dinosaur that my studies preceded the Java craze

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    +1. I'm not sure whether a Nokia 2140 is a dinosaur phone though. Perhaps it is. [I used to have one of those. Brilliant in its day.]
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 25, 2014 at 12:37
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    A colleague has one still. I get SMSs in all uppercase. I am surprised it even can access any current networks
    – mplungjan
    Jun 25, 2014 at 13:07
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    Creating a shortened form akin to Japanese ガラ携, my immediate thought was dinophone … but then that somehow makes me think of purple Flintstone pets … Jun 25, 2014 at 19:40
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    I would say 'antediluvian', which means 'before the flood'; referring to the biblical flood in the old testament. It's used as a hyperbolic way to say something is very old. Jun 25, 2014 at 21:01
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    @mplungjan old phone networks linger for ever. It was only about a decade ago that most of the world shut down 1g analog systems. I don't know about where you live; but the 4 major US carriers are planning to continue operating their primary 2g networks for 2.5 to 6.5(?) or more years. (2.5 is ATT pulling its plug on jan1 2017, 6.5 is VZW being ambiguous about if 2021's the soonest they may shut it down or the longest they'll keep it up - I've seen both claims but never the original statement.) Jun 25, 2014 at 21:20

The short answer is no, I don't know of any English verb/adjective form of Galápagos - and when used as a noun, it's almost always referring to the geographic location. But there are plenty of other adjectives we can use to describe outdated things.

If you describe your phone as antique, dated, obsolete, or ancient, it conveys the idea that your phone is old, outdated, and should be replaced with a newer model. You can also use the term vintage, but that implies more of a positive connotation. (The owner of a "vintage phone" might be proud of how old it is and thus refuses to upgrade.)

For a more humorous effect, you can call your phone prehistoric or primordial - which aren't meant to be taken literally, but can be used to imply the phone is absurdly outdated. (Similar to dinosaur as previously mentioned)


As a (North) American, I have never heard of "Galapagos" being used that way, even though that may be the case in Japan.

I have a number of friends from that part of the world (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru) that have told me, "we sometimes feel that Japan is closer to us than the United States." One of those countries (Peru) elected a President of Japanese ancestry, the United States never has (so far).

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