Meaning of retcon in English:


Pronunciation /ˈrɛtkɒn/


  • (in a film, television series, or other fictional work) a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events, typically used to facilitate a dramatic plot shift or account for an inconsistency.

    ‘we're given a retcon for Wilf's absence from Donna's wedding in ‘The Runaway Bride’: he had Spanish Flu’
    • ‘Should we assume gendered pronouns conform to modern definitions of gender, or is this a social 'retcon' of the language?’
    • ‘That film's jaw-dropping ending would get its own retcon in the sixth film.’
    • ‘Next, let's see them come up with a creative retcon for that ludicrous "people being used as batteries" backstory.’
    • ‘Although the wikipedia entry gives fleshed details, most of those are a retcon from the Warcraft 3 universe.’
    • ‘To be fair, he has got better over time, although I did think the retcon where it is shown that he is putting on the cockney accent is just inspired.’
    • ‘Morrison's retcon allows him to link Milena (as nemesis avatar) to Louise (#15 - 'The Trillians Incident').’
    • ‘To suggest that because this happened in the 1990s there must have been some inherent, organic connection between the two ideologies from the start is a form of historical retcon.’
    • ‘Americans have always been very accepting of our retcons.’
    • ‘With twelve episodes, though, you can generally map the whole season out, avoiding the last-minute retcons necessary to pull everything together.’
    • ‘Retcons are nothing new in comics and reformats at DC have been common enough that the writers got in a real twist, dropping in and destroying alternate timelines left, right and centre.’
    • ‘In other words, Star Trek is using retcons (an insertion into the fictional narrative chronology) as a means to construct the future history that both fascinates and compels the more serious fans.’
    • ‘This could just be a joke about the nature of retcons, but I wonder if there's something bigger going on.’
    • ‘Then came the series finale, and one of the most famous — and fascinating or infuriating — retcons in the history of TV.’

verbverb retcons, verb retconning, verb retconned

[with object]
  • Revise (an aspect of a fictional work) retrospectively, typically by introducing a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events.

    ‘I think fans get more upset when characters act blatantly out of established type, or when things get retconned’
    • ‘With character development comes the temptation to retcon, to write events out of the history.’
    • ‘The shocking ending here would later be retconned in Halloween 5.’
    • ‘There's just no way they can retcon a remotely sane set of plotlines and relationships without the last season-and-a-half taking place.’
    • ‘Shouldn't we be seeing Ewan McGregor as Kenobi, if we're retconning them?’
    • ‘Still, S4 salvaged the worst of S3 and retconned most of the show's history into a thought-provoking but ultimately unprovable conspiracy.’
    • ‘In this case, the product drivers have actually been fans of the original product, who have then taken over creation of further product, and retconned the narrative to suit them.’
    • ‘Whether the whole thing will be retconned out of existence next year is of course another matter.’
    • ‘Still, rereading the wiki articles, I see that they've been retconned, so it would look to anyone else as if the original game had a story depth much greater than it really had.’
    • ‘You mark my words, in a couple of years if not sooner, this reboot will be retconned away by another universe width event with Crisis in the title.’
    • ‘Yes, but were there Bergenholms in the original 1934 version of Triplanetary, before Smith retconned it to connect it to the Lensman books?’


1980s abbreviation of retroactive continuity.