Is there a word for something that was once true (maybe at the time it was said or written) but isn't true anymore?

Either an adjective or a noun is fine. "Obsolete" is the best thing that I can think of, but it's not quite right.

  • 5
    An example, please. :)
    – NVZ
    Feb 17, 2016 at 16:23
  • 1
    If in the context of something like a scientific theory, then a word like "discarded" might apply. Feb 17, 2016 at 17:53
  • Please provide an example. Note that if you are looking for a word for scientific theories, your description is not quite correct. Scientific theories are often superseded, but remain correct -- i.e., usuable -- in many conditions. For example, Newtonian mechanics, although superseded by quantum mechanics, is still used to calculate trajectories of large, slow objects like bullets or baseballs. In contrast, the Ptolemaic view of the universe was never correct, although widely believed.
    – ab2
    Feb 17, 2016 at 23:02
  • The context for this one is actually in programming -- I had a bunch of code comments explaining that something wasn't yet functional. When that something was completed and was functional, the comments didn't get removed. I was looking for an adjective to describe the now-incorrect comments.
    – Eric Dand
    Feb 18, 2016 at 0:57
  • "Outdated" does seem to be a bit better than "obsolete"! It still doesn't feel perfect though, so I guess my ideal word may not exist.
    – Eric Dand
    Feb 18, 2016 at 0:57

2 Answers 2


If you say that "previously x was y" it implies that "currently x no longer is y".

"Previously" is about the only word I can think of that specifically means all of the criteria ie: Was , no longer is, and the element of truth.

"Contemporary" means "at that time" and there are plenty of words that refer to a change such as "obsolete", "outdated", "old fashioned", "antiquated" and that list goes on but as you mentioned already none of these are quite perfect.


Consider bygone statement.

For example: this bygone statement does not actually reflect my personal opinions.

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