Share this entry

retcon Syllabification: ret·con
Pronunciation: /ˈretkän/

Definition of retcon in English:


(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
More example sentences
  • Then came the series finale, and one of the most famous — and fascinating or infuriating — retcons in the history of TV.
  • 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.


[with object] (retcons, retconning, retconned) Back to top  
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
More example sentences
  • Yes, but were there Bergenholms in the original 1934 version of Triplanetary, before Smith retconned it to connect it to the Lensman books?
  • 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.


1980s: abbreviation of retroactive continuity.

Definition of retcon in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources