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- Word that means “outdated name” 8 answers
Astronomy is full of terms that were developed phenomenologically without a real understanding of the physical processes behind the phenomena. Science marches on though, and many of these terms are now outdated as we've developed a better understanding of the physics behind the phenomenology. Unfortunately, these outdated terms are still used rather than being replaced with new terms that better represent what is actually happening.
An example will help clarify what I mean. Galaxies come it two main types: elliptical galaxies and spiral galaxies. Elliptical galaxies are often called "early-type galaxies" and spiral galaxies are often called "late-type galaxies" because many decades ago it was believed that elliptical "early-type" galaxies gradually change into spiral "late-type" galaxies. However, there is a large body of evidence that now shows that the evolutionary picture of a galaxy is not so simple, and if anything it is the "late-type" galaxies that change into "early-type" galaxies. The terms "early type" and "late type" have far outlived their usefulness, yet they are still used by astronomers today.
I am wondering:
- What is a good word to describe terms that are now outdated and no longer accurate/useful? Example sentence: "Terms like early type and late type are ..."
- What is a good word to describe the phenomenon of such words still being used, even though everybody knows the terminology is unnecessarily confusing and inaccurate? Example sentence: " ... in astronomy confuses many inexperienced young astronomers."