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Is there a word that captures the following meaning?

"Neither modern nor outdated. Mature and stable."

For example, if this word were X, then we could apply it to a technology like television or a branch of study like science because they are mature and stable. Neither is exactly too modern. However, we could not apply this word to say smartphones or electric cars because they are pretty modern. They may be stable too but they are modern and so they are ruled out.

Here are some example usages of this word:

  1. Television is an X piece of technology.

  2. I love web browsers because they are X.

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    "battle tested" is a phrase (not single word) that fits with what you describe, but is not a single word and doesn't necessarily drop in exactly with the "not modern" requirements. – kwah Nov 19 '20 at 5:17
  • Standard? Standardized? – John Smith Nov 21 '20 at 19:08
  • it's just "mature". the phrase "mature technology" is utterly commonplace, and exactly what you mean – Fattie Nov 22 '20 at 1:30
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    I find it regrettable that some answers to this question are so opinionated, and that diverging answers (most of which perfectly acceptable) have been downvoted. This is not a contest for egos; and it is unfair to the people who have tried to help. – fralau Nov 28 '20 at 9:28
  • Why are there downvotes on several answers and no feedback? Kind of seems like there is some gaming going on. – Peter Dec 9 '20 at 6:34

13 Answers 13

63

"established"

Television is an established piece of technology.

I love web browsers because they are well-established

Definition of established

1: accepted and recognized or followed by many people

established rules/customs/traditions

2a: successful for a long period of time and widely known

an established author/artist

an established law firm

… people with Ph.D.s have been credentialed by established experts in their fields — Louis Menand

b: growing or flourishing successfully

an established plant

an established flower garden

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/established

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    I came here to leave this answer, I don't think there's a better word to encapsulate not modern, but also not outdated. – Sam Nov 19 '20 at 13:25
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    This is by far the best word. – barbecue Nov 19 '20 at 15:39
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Mature is the correct word. When someone says a technology is mature, it in no way means it is outdated or obsolete. Mature only means it is stable and has been well vetted. Obsolescence is an independent matter. For example, jet engines and rockets are a mature technology but no one would say that either are outdated. Obsolescence only happens when a replacement technology comes along and itself approaches maturity.

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  • +1; this really seems the most apt answer, better than the more highly upvoted established. But I would suggest possibly removing the second paragraph — I don’t disagree with it, but it’s a distraction from the main point of the answer. – PLL Nov 19 '20 at 20:48
  • "Mature" suggests the height or peak of the technology, which counters the idea that it would be obsolete; "established" fails to do that. Agreed this is a slightly better option. – Matthew Read Nov 22 '20 at 0:49
  • I agree that this is a correct word. I disagree that this is the correct word, as this would be dogmatic. – fralau Nov 28 '20 at 9:21
12

It's not a single word, but tried and true can be used to describe something that has proven to be reliable or effective in the past. It indicates that whatever you're describing has been around for awhile, and is not terribly modern. Although it may not be the absolute best thing available, it still sees practical use and isn't obsolete.

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Timeless.

For example, "A suit and tie is a timeless look."

It is much more common to use "timeless" when discussing styles, like fashion and architecture. It would be less common for technology, but it otherwise captures your meaning quite well.

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I think the best option here is established, as answered by chasly, however another option could be accepted:

definition of accept

  • consent to receive or undertake (something offered).
  • receive as adequate, valid, or suitable.
  • regard favourably or with approval; welcome.

for a slightly negative connotation, such as a technology grudgingly accepted for want of an alternative:

  • tolerate or submit to (something unpleasant or undesired).
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    Accepted, as an adjective, has slightly different connotations from what a literal reading of the verb meaning suggests. It connotes — roughly — that something is the current consensus. E.g. the online Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “generally agreed to be satisfactory or right”, and dictionary.com as “generally approved; usually regarded as normal, right, etc.” So it’s much more about the social acceptance of something than about its intrinsic quality. – PLL Nov 19 '20 at 20:43
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    Agreed. If Lone Learner is asking this in relation to writing a novel or fiction, in my experience I find it useful to have a few options available to suit the context. Rightly as you say, accepted is useful in the context of social acceptance rather than purely technological. – Sam Dec 1 '20 at 22:47
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Enduring

Long-lasting without significant alteration; continuing through time in the same relative state

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how about commodity?

in many industries, commodity tech, or commodity processes, are generally considered "industrial strength" and usually lacking "brand new car smell"

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Legacy - Old, overtaken, but not yet obsolete

2: of, relating to, associated with, or carried over from an earlier time, technology, business, etc.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legacy

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  • When it comes to technology, I would view "legacy" and "obsolete" as virtually synonymous. The only distinction might be that legacy tech exists only because it has not been fully rooted out and replaced, but it's nearly there and that's explicitly the goal. I definitely don't think it implies stability, or lack of great age. – Matthew Read Nov 22 '20 at 0:53
  • @Matthew Read I'm not sure I agree. Legacy technology to me is technology that has not yet become obsolete, as it has not been yet been retired. It has however been superseded, and thus is more mature than the latest technology/process, by definition. It could be argued television is legacy, as many people watch media via newer devices, but it's by no means obsolete, and will likely not be for a significant period. – Jim Patterson Nov 23 '20 at 16:07
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The answer established (by @chasly-supports-monica) seems good to me.

Otherwise, I would also propose tried and true: since it is "tried", it mature and stable, thus probably not modern; and since it is still "true" ("functioning accurately") it is obviously not obsolete.

Tested and proved to be worthy or good. (American Heritage)

Used many times in the past and proven to work well:

A cup of warm milk is my tried-and-true remedy for insomnia. (Cambridge Dictionary)

Those sentences would work:

Television is a tried and true piece of technology.

I love web browsers because they are tried and true tools.

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Dependable

The dictionary definition for dependable is

Trustworthy and reliable

If something is dependable, you can deduce that not only has it been tested, but that it has also persevered. Therefore, although not necessarily (but presumably) it can be considered "mature", and would definitely be considered "stable".

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How about conventional.

Definition from Google:

based on or in accordance with what is generally done or believed.

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Robust. " Full of health and strength; vigorous. synonym: healthy." - Wordnik

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  • You should include a definition for robust from an authoritative source – KillingTime Nov 20 '20 at 7:26
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I know a lot of English words. None of them clearly convey all four of the meanings you intend without allowing further unintended meanings.

(We’re still developing vocabulary that includes the assumption that technology has a life cycle. Like the changeover from solids to liquids in language describing the behavior of money, the process will take a while.)

Right now, I’d pick “reliable”. It means we’ve found we can rely on it, which implies that it isn’t new, and that it has worked many times under many circumstances.

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