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retcon: /ret'kon/ [short for `retroactive continuity', from
   the USENET newsgroup rec.arts.comics] 1. n. The common
   situation in pulp fiction (esp. comics or soap operas) where a
   new story `reveals' things about events in previous stories,
   usually leaving the `facts' the same (thus preserving
   continuity) while completely changing their interpretation.  For
   example, revealing that a whole season of "Dallas" was a
   dream was a retcon.  2. vt. To write such a story about a character
   or fictitious object.  "Byrne has retconned Superman's cape so
   that it is no longer unbreakable."  "Marvelman's old adventures
   were retconned into synthetic dreams."  "Swamp Thing was
   retconned from a transformed person into a sentient vegetable."
   "Darth Vader was retconned into Luke Skywalker's father in
   "The Empire Strikes Back".

[This term is included because it is a good example of hackish linguistic innovation in a field completely unrelated to computers. The word `retcon' will probably spread through comics fandom and lose its association with hackerdom within a couple of years; for the record, it started here. --- ESR]

[1993 update: some comics fans on the net now claim that retcon was independently in use in comics fandom before rec.arts.comics. In lexicography, nothing is ever simple. --- ESR]