Older Than They Think/Other

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  • The gravelly voice used by Rowlf the Dog has been described as a Tom Waits impression -- although Waits was only 13 when Rowlf debuted.
  • Punch and Judy.[context?]
  • Stepford Suburbia is a subversion of 1950s sitcoms, right? Trouble In Tahiti dates this cynical genre back to 1952.
  • Troll dolls weren't introduced in The Nineties, they were re-introduced. These toys actually date back to 1963.
  • When Dubreq (makers of the Stylophone) introduced the Super Stylophone circa 1971, it flopped (as could have been predicted, since it lacked both the qualities which made the original such a hit -- cheapness and simplicity). So they withdrew it, only to reintroduce it four years later as a "new hi-fi synthesiser" -- a description almost hilariously wrong on all three counts, since "hi-fi" is not applicable to non-imitative sound generation, and it was a divider organ, not a synth.
  • Adam from MythBusters is known for popularizing the line "I reject your reality, and substitute my own", even to the point of wearing a T-Shirt reading that (a custom-made gift from a fan in Romania) on the show. However, the line actually comes from the 1985 Richard Moll sci-fi horror movie The Dungeonmaster. This line is the only good thing to come from it.
  • This editor has met people who thought that the phrase "skeleton in the closet" was invented by Eminem.
    • And this one has seem someone claim that "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" originate from Marvel Comics.
  • The standard linguistic joke of spelling "fish" G-H-O-T-I ("gh" as in "rough", "o" as in "women", and "ti" as in "nation") is usually attributed to George Bernard Shaw. While Shaw was interested in spelling reform, this particular joke can be dated back to at least 1855 -- the year before Shaw was born.
  • The phrase "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" has been attributed to everyone and everything from U2 to one of those Murphy's Law books. It's been definitively dated back to Irina Dunn in 1970, while she was a student at the university of Sydney, Australia. It was a paraphrase of an even older phrase, "Man needs religion [or "God"] like a fish needs a bicycle."
  • The Other Wiki goes into the usual humorously serious detail on how "Your Mom" jokes are older than people think; used, for example, by Shakespeare.
  • Some would think The Other Wiki was the first wiki site. The term originates with the Portland Pattern Repository, and several other wikis, including everything.com and h2g2 (based on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), also predated the better-known encyclopedia.
  • Many people believe that theistic evolution was created after Darwin's On the Origin of Species proposed the concept of Evolution as a way to fit Genesis with current science. Few know that the Roman Catholic Church accepted a concept very close to theistic evolution nearly 500 years before On the Origin of Species was ever published. St. Thomas Aquinas likened God's creation to a farmer who planted a seed and observed the plant growing and changing over time. The works that featured this concept are actually the reason he is honored as a saint.
    • Similarly, the concept of evolution is also much older. Aristotle wrote down theories of natural selection. Charles Darwin's own grandfather also worked on evolution theories. Darwin was the first who clearly explained all the important elements of evolution, as well as a workable concept.
    • The word "evolution" does not appear in On the Origin of Species, and the word "evolve" only appears once at the very end ("[E]ndless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."). Darwin avoided the word because, at the time, the word "evolution" referred to Lamarck's ideas. Darwin preferred the phrase "descent with modification".
      • Curiously, modern evolution is also Newer Than They Think, as it wasn't until the early 20th century that anyone connected Darwin's evolution with Mendel's work on heredity. Before that, the biggest flaw in evolutionary theory was the lack of a mechanism to pass down traits in the manner Darwin specified, and Mendel solved that problem.
  • The idea of "glasnost", namely partially opening up a system to protect its ultimate survival, predates Gorbachev by over a century.
  • "In Soviet Russia" jokes are literally older than Yakov Smirnoff.
  • The concept of "X" as an abbreviation for Christ (e.g. "Xmas") is Older Than Feudalism, dating from the Roman persecutions of early Christians who'd use the Greek letter χ (chi), the first letter of Christ written in Greek, as code.
  • The traditional concern about Christmas becoming too "commercialized" is literally as old as the modern conception of the holiday itself. For instance, Harriet Beecher Stowe complained about as much in her 1850 book, The First Christmas in New England.
  • Uncyclopedia has a running gag about Kitten Huffing. Ween mentioned inhaling kitties in a song (Marble Tulip Juicy Tree) in 1989!
    • Also mentioned in a 1996 Father Ted episode; a man was allergic to cats, and inhaled kittens to punish himself for his sins.
  • Many of the symbols, rituals and other aspects of Nazi Germany actually dated back from as far as thousands of years before Nazi Germany was even established. Unfortunately, this led to these symbols becoming taboo and (at least partially) falling out of use. The most famous example is the swastika, which is actually a major symbol in several cultures, including the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity and until Hitler co-opted it, it didn't in fact have anything to do with racism -- and even though the swastika can "spiral" both clockwise and counterclockwise while the Nazi version only runs counterclockwise, both versions are now associated by many with the Nazis.
    • Similarly, the word "Aryan" to refer to the prehistoric people who spoke Indo-European has been dropped for "Proto-Indo-European." While the work of historical linguists might have had something to do with it, the fact that Nazis are all over the connotations for that word most certainly has a hand as well.
      • The word "Aryan" is very old. It appears in the oldest text in Indic, the Rigveda, the oldest portions of which date from approximately 1500 BC, and in the oldest text in Iranian, the Avesta, dating from around 1000 BC. What is new is applying the word to non-Indo-Iranians, which started in the 19th century.
    • Mussolini and Hitler were often openly saying that they imagine their countries as modern versions of, correspondingly, Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which has made elements of both taboo. In Italy, the fasces (an ancient Roman symbol) have been removed from many emblems due to the fascist connotations, and the Roman salute has also suffered a similar fate.
    • Speaking of the swastika, prior to the rise of Nazism the swastika was used in its "good luck" context in architecture for many buildings and as an emblem in several European armed forces (most notably the inter-war and early WWII Finnish Air Force). Note that these mostly copied the original look of the swastika, while the Nazis made their version deliberately different from the others. Still, the unfortunate connotations with the Nazi regime have made the swastika a banned symbol in Europe (though you can routinely see it in its original form in various Asian countries, where the connotations with the Nazi version aren't as strong).
    • In the early 20th century, in the US, the swastika was widely used as a good luck sign (alongside the horseshoe, the four-leaf clover and the wishbone) on everything from playing cards to coins to souvenir spoons!
      • The Lafayette Escadrille, American pilots who went to France to fight the Germans before the U.S. entered World War I, had as a logo a Plains Indian wearing the war bonnet -- with a central swastika.
    • Prior to the rise of Nazism, the US Pledge of Allegiance involved stretching out one's hand towards the flag, similar to the Ave salute. This gesture was dropped by WW2, for obvious reasons.
  • The phrase "trick out" seems like an example of modern, urban slang. Actually, John Austin used it in The Province of Jurisprudence Determined, first published in 1832, and the phrase is probably much older. It's even used in the modern sense of out "to adorn or decorate in an extravagant or gaudy manner".
  • Another unexpectedly old phrase: "I guess". Geoffrey Chaucer used it, in the modern sense, in The Canterbury Tales.
  • Though abduction of humans by aliens wasn't commonly reported before the 1960s, people would tell tales of having been abducted by witches on broomsticks (Older Than Print) or spirits/ghosts/demons (Older Than Feudalism). Alien abductions and sightings bear uncanny resemblance to the fairy encounters of the old myths. The phenomenon of sleep paralysis only goes halfway in explaining the experiences, but clearly something in the human brain has a habit of creating illusions of otherworldly encounters.
    • On a related note, there were some "UFO" sightings as far back as the 19th century, with alien "balloons" and "airships" instead of "flying saucers."
    • And then there is Agobard of Lyons, who wrote about the peasants belief in flying ships coming from "Magonia, the land beyond the clouds inhabited by wizards" and how they ruined crops and kidnapped people only to return them to the same place after some time (maybe even years). All this right in Carolingian times (roughly 800AD to 1000AD).
    • Crop circles are often considered a recent occurrence, and in fact many people assume they're all a hoax because two Englishmen admitted to faking a ton of them in the nineties. However, reports of crop circle-like phenomena go back at least to the Mowing Devil in 1678.
  • Graffiti is pretty damn old -- Pompeii (yes, that one) was famous for it. Quite a bit of it involves sex, and is downright hilarious. NSFW.
    • A lot of the graffiti found in Roman ruins looks suspiciously like political bumper stickers in America.
    • In the show The Naked Archaeologist, host Simcha Jacobovici once presented evidence that non-pictorial written language was first invented by Jewish rebels in Egypt as a code their enemies couldn't read, and part of his evidence was graffiti in an ancient Egyptian work camp reading "El [God] save me." So our alphabet could have been created specifically for graffiti.
    • The theory that the alphabet was invented by the Jews in Egypt is also rather old - there is a 1903 Russian book claiming that.
  • Tiamat as a dragon is both Older Than They Think and Newer Than They Think. In the original mythology, she wasn't a dragon, but Dungeons & Dragons, contrary to common citation, didn't invent this misconception, although it did popularize it greatly. It actually owes to a misinterpretation of the Enuma Elish -- which prominently identifies her as the mother of dragons and sea serpents -- combined with conflation with the related Ugaritic deity Lotan, who was a dragon.
  • There are many, many turns of phrase from This Very Wiki which are Older Than They Think. Lampshade Hanging is chief among these. There was an amusing example on Kangaroo Court where someone assumed the Phoenix Wright localization team were tropers because they used that phrase. And, if this wiki is the context in which you've learned the words "deconstruction", "subversion" or even "trope", it's advisable to look them up in a dictionary before trying to use them elsewhere.
  • In a 1773 drama, writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe attributes a 1520-ish use of the German variant of "kiss my arse" to Swabian knight |Gottfried "Götz" von Berlichingen.
  • Gay bars. There were certainly fewer of these than there are today, but people had them. Remember The Roaring Twenties?
    • Likewise, leather bars date to the return of U.S. soldiers in WWII largely on the West Coast taking up residence in biker bars - both masculine types of gay men dating back to time immemorial.
  • The name Conan was not invented by Robert E. Howard. It is an old Irish name dating back to The Dark Ages, which is where the Irish-descended Arthur Conan Doyle and Conan O'Brien derive it from.
  • The Kilt. Although the modern popular conception of the kilt associates it exclusively with Scotland (where it is even Newer Than They Think); the kilt is actually one of the oldest known garments, predated only by the loincloth. Depictions of kilts have been found in early Dynastic Egypt (roughly 3000 BC), where they were one of the most commonly worn garments among the upper classes (slaves and labours wore loincloths). They were typically short and made from linen. Wool kilts were the most common male garment in Minoan-period Crete (2700-1450 BC), and were adopted by Mycenaean Greece (1600-1100 BC).
    • The standard uniform of the historical Greek military's Evzone troops was a white kilt known as a fustanella. The elite ceremonial Proedriki Froura (Presidential Guard) unit still wears the traditional fustanella as part of their uniform.
  • Many people think that eating international cuisine is something that came about in the 1980's. England's first Indian restaurant opened in 1837, the year Victoria ascended the throne. Granted, India wasn't exactly foreign to Britons then...
    • If we're just talking Britain, coffeehouses arrived two hundred years before that. But then in principal anyone powerful enough to buy or steal someone else's stuff and curious enough to try something new has developed an international cuisine.
  • Thanks to a certain John O'Sullivan (the man who also gave us the phrase "manifest destiny"), a lot of people think the United States was a "great experiment in liberty." They forget that the founding fathers were looking to the concepts of democracy/representative democracy found in the Greek poleis and the Roman Republic (which dates back to 509 BC). There's a reason why so much architecture in Washington DC mimics Greco-Roman style.
    • A form of representative democracy has been practiced by the Iroquois Confederation since the sixteenth century, while a similar system (the Alting) also existed in Iceland since 930 -- though in their original forms, they may have been closer to oligarchies, as they were councils of warrior-elites.
    • A representational democracy, where parliamentary representatives were elected on local level (according to one man - one vote rule) and the monarch was elected by common vote was used between 1573-1795 in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (with the caveat that only nobility had the right to vote, which still made the percentage of voters higher than in First French Republic). Indeed, as early
    • Not to mention several Medieval city-states in whole or part.
    • And they all of them had headaches we would recognize too.
  • Speaking of the United States, people from Spanish and Portugese-speaking countries often accuse U.S. citizens of calling themselves "American" out of ignorance and/or deliberate arrogance -- as if Americans knowingly decided to call themselves that just to spite everyone else in North and South America. What they don't realize is that the demonym "American" has been used to mean "person of European descent living in British America" in the English language since at least the 1640s, as recorded in The English-American: A New Survey of the West Indies by Thomas Gage. That's over a full century before the Declaration of Independence, people.
    • Related: the United States was the first country established out of European colonies in either North or South America. Considering that (what are now) American citizens had been called Americans for over a century by 1776, and there were no other "European-style" countries established at the time, "United States of America" is way less presumptuous than detractors claim.
  • The name "Wendy" is commonly attributed to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan and it's true he popularized the name, but the name was recorded as being used in the US as early as the 1820s, about forty years before Barrie was born.
    • Barrie got it from his friend Margaret Henley. About three at the time (she died at five), she called him "my fwendy" and then "my wendy". Since Barrie popularized it, it's also become a nickname for "Melinda". Small children are responsible for a lot of nicknames, eh.
  • Medieval science, especially at the University in Paris, was a lot more advanced than it gets credit for. Jean Buridan had a theory of inertia similar to Newton's (though with circular motion) by the mid-1300s, and unlike Newton said that God had no need to interfere in celestial motions. Nicole Oresme had theories of, among other things, probability, the subconscious, music, gravity, and, supposedly, evolution. He also had the same proof of uniformly varied motion as Galileo about 250 years before Galileo did, and used "Cartesian" notation about 300 years before Descartes -- and used it to invent analytical geometry, too. What ruined it? The Hundred Years War in France made the Italian schools, where Aristotle's physics had never been questioned, dominant.
  • Atomic theory goes back at least to the 4th century BC with the Greek philosophers Leucippus of Miletus and Democritus of Abdera.
    • The four classical elements -- Fire, Earth, Water, and Air -- correspond pretty well to the four major states of matter of modern physics -- Plasma, Solid, Liquid, and Gas, respectively.
  • The term "decimal" was the name of the base-ten number system for hundreds of years before the invention in the 17th century of the point-fraction notation with which it's most usually associated. Not surprisingly, since "decimal" is actually the adjective form of the Latin noun decem, "ten".
    • The official term for what's usually known as a "decimal" is actually "decimal fraction". As in, a fraction with the denominator being a power of ten.
    • The fractional point is itself an example of this trope. Although not introduced to the decimal system until the 17th century, the ancient Babylonians (who had a sexagesimal -- base 60 -- system which was positional (like the decimal system, unlike the Roman system) and thus used 60 "digit" symbols valued 0 to 59) had a fractional point following which symbols represented 60ths, 3600ths and so on.
  • What is usually called the "Christian" calendar was introduced, in substantially its present form, in 45BC -- some 80 years before the birth of Christianity.
    • Referring to it as the Gregorian calendar is becoming more common, so this example's tenure on this page might be running out. For the sake of completeness, the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars is... three days every four hundred years, increasing the time it takes a year to gain a day from 128 years to 3300.
  • Similar to the above, while the the seven-day week gets a Just-So Story in The Bible, it actually predates Judaism. It comes from early pagan religions, and each day is devoted to one of the seven celestial objects visible with the naked eye - the sun, moon, and five planets. This is most evident in the English names for the first two - Sunday and Mo(o)nday (the others come from the names of pagan gods - Tuesday is "Tyr's Day", Wednesday is "Woden's Day", etc.). Many scholars think that the reason Christians moved their sabbath from Saturday to Sunday is that most Romans were sun-worshipers, and thus worshiped on Sun Day, and Constantine encouraged Christians to worship on the same day as their neighbors to seem less like outsiders.
  • Shopping malls were the product of 50s American suburban consumerism, right? Providence, Rhode Island opened an indoor shopping center called the Westminster Arcade in 1828. Cleveland, Ohio opened its own Arcade in 1890 (here's what it looked like in 1901), and even before them indoor markets were built in England and Russia.
    • The Brits called them "market halls," and The Other Wiki lists an example of one from the 1620s.
    • If a shopping mall is a covered area containing a number of stores, there was one in London as early as 1819.
      • The bazaars of the Islamic and Indian empires were shopping malls in all but name and their modern descendants, judging by what goods they sell, are the counterpart of Western malls.
      • And in Rome before the birth of Christ.
  • The internet would lead you to believe that the Furry Fandom is some new fad (or something of the 90s), but really, it's actually older than the internet we know of today. The first furry convention was actually held in 1982, but, there were "furries" known back in the 60s, (and of course, you can't forget that a lot of old cartoons from the 20s to the 40s had mostly Funny Animals as characters).
  • Folding chairs are really old. Really really old.
  • Quantum physics is often treated as the next big thing, while it actually ‬dates back to the nineteenth century. Justified as we still have a rather poor understanding of it and scientist believing in a major breakthrough being 'just around the corner' since the mid-eighties.
    • Quantization dates back to the 19th century, but almost all of what we know as "quantum mechanics" (quantum states, operators, etc.) is less than a hundred years old. Many important developments are much more recent. For instance, the six quark model dates only to 1973.
  • These days IBM might well be thought of as a computer hardware company, but it actually predates electronics by a long way. The name dates from 1924 (it had been CTR, or Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation before), while the company itself dates from 1911, and even then is was an amalgamation of several existing companies, which date to 1885, 1900 and 1901.
    • Early products included cheese cutters, meat choppers, and scales.
    • This is actually the case with many modern big companies specializing in modern hardware and software. For example Nokia is one of the biggest producers of cellphones in the world. It was founded in 1865. Or how about Nintendo? Surely the company that gave us the NES and Mario cannot be all that old? Perhaps from the 1970's? Nope, founded in 1889.
  • The Junk and the Dhow by Rudyard Kipling, basically, gently covers a lot of proudly reinvented bicycles with this trope and then dances on it.
  • Pythagorean Theorem was an already known fact long before Pythagoras' time.
  • Not only was the true shape of the Earth known since ancient times, the actual size was known as well (about 25,000 miles), and not due to Columbus. In fact, Columbus' expedition was rejected several times because he had severely underestimated the distance to Asia, and his potential patrons knew it.
  • Speaking in the third person is Older Than Feudalism. Julius Caesar refers to himself in the third person throughout his history of the Gallic Wars (a tendency parodied by Asterix).
  • The expression "no go" sounds like some "hip," mid-20th-century urban expression. In fact, its roots are urban - but it was being used on the East Coast as early as 1838! (Read all about it at 'What does "OK" stand for?'.) And for that matter, by the 1840s it was already considered funny to deliberately misspell the word as "know go".
  • Using the word "like" as a meaningless place-holder while you try to think of a more appropriate expression (similar to "you know" or "whatever") is often thought to have originated with teenagers in the 1980s. It is in fact much older. Marilyn Monroe uses the expression when talking with Tony Curtis in the beach scene in Some Like It Hot, which was released in 1959 - and, for that matter, is set in 1929!
  • The famous story about Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) quickly adding up a series of numbers by matching the first and last one, while apocryphal in and of itself, is supposed to demonstrate his genius - but the method already appears in the Tosafot, a group of commentators on the Talmud who lived four hundred years earlier.
  • Celebrity endorsement of products was common for popular Roman gladiators. The writers of the Gladiator movie considered including that in the script, but thought it wouldn't fly.
  • Someone on the webite The Escapist's forums declared that Charlie Brooker was ripping off Yahtzee's act. While they may not have known that Brooker had been doing the snarky-British-slating thing for a while, or that Screenburn and probably Screenwipe predate Zero Punctuation, it just sounds dumb given that Yahtzee has credited Brooker as an influence on his ZP style.
  • Cosplay. There are early examples of a large number of young men dressing up as the title character from Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther.
  • Who first turned "it stinks" into a Catch Phrase, Jay Sherman, or Joel Robinson riffing on that guy from Pod People? Kolenkhov from You Can't Take It with You beat both of them by several decades.
  • The Internet itself is older than most people think. Most people would not have heard of it before the mid-1990s, and thus assume that was roughly the time it came about. The World Wide Web dates from 1991, but it is actually just one of many applications built on top of the actual Internet. Unfortunately, an exact date for the birth of the Internet cannot be given, since it was a continuous development over several decades. Some years which may be considered candidates for this include:
    • 1968, When Arpanet was started
    • 1969, When the first message ever was sent via Arpanet
    • 1974, When the technical core concepts of the Internet were formulated at Stanford University
    • 1981, When the Internet Protocol version 4, which is dominant to this day, was introduced
  • Many people have started to use the term "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" jokingly in reference to some Geico commercials use of the term. The commercial shows the figure of speech being shown as literal for comedic effect. Most people however, think that the term came from the commercial and have to idea that it actually means anything.
  • The use of the asterisk in baseball scoring. Modern fans think it means the player may have (or was caught) cheating, but this only happened at the Turn of the Millennium in part to an anti-steroids campaign and commentaries advocating this use. It used to mark a great defensive play, and was once used to denote that Roger Maris had 8 more games to play than Babe Ruth did.
  • The word misunderestimate has a pedigree that goes back long before the time of George W. Bush.
    • The word "truthiness", though commonly believed to be a coinage of Stephen Colbert, in fact dates back to 1824, albeit with a slightly different meaning.
  • Amazing though it may seem to those familiar with the works of Uwe Boll, the Britishism "bollocks" is not an eponym.
  • Rosa Parks was not the first black woman to refuse to give her seat to a white man. Elizabeth Jennings Graham is widely recognized as the first person to do this back in 1854 (although it was a streetcar, not a bus). In 1946, Irene Morgan did the same thing on an actual bus. On March 2, 1955 Claudette Colvin did the same thing. On October 21st of the same year, Mary Louise Smith also did this. Rosa Parks refused her seat on December 1st.
  • Most people assume that the Zombie Apocalypse started with George Romero's Night of the Living Dead in 1968, but it can be directly traced to Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, published in 1954. Romero himself admitted that Night of the Living Dead was basically just a rip-off of Matheson's book.
    • Before that, the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna/Ishtar was threatening to cause Zombie Apocalypses when she didn't get her way in ancient myths.
  • Certain signature moves in Professional Wrestling are attributed to current wrestlers who use them but in fact were actually around long before said wrestler started using them as a signature. Examples:
  • Another Professional Wrestling one: the Bella Twins have a gimmick of wearing the same gear and switching with each other during matches to win. Kurt Angle did this twice, using his brother Eric first at Survivor Series 2000 and again on Smackdown in 2003. Though Kurt and Eric weren't twins so it was used mostly as a distraction so Kurt could quickly sneak out a win.
    • The Killer Bees (Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair) did that in the 80s with masks. Mind, the rule of "in a tag match, the legal man must make the pin" was enforced far more then.
  • While the United States might be the first country/empire/kingdom to celebrate and proudly admit to being a melting pot, this has been going on since the rise of city-states albeit on a less global scale. The city of Rome itself was founded by runaway slaves and criminals from all over the Italian peninsula and as the Roman Republic and Roman Empire expanded it added Etruscan, Carthaginian, Celtic, Germanic, Greek, Egyptian, and Persian blood to the mix.
    • Cyrus the Great in the 6th Century BC enthusiastically encouraged multiculturalism throughout the empire he founded, the Achaemenid Persian Empire.
  • The United States engaged in wars at a distant land against a Muslim faction. War On Terror? No, the Barbary Wars in the early 19th century.
  • Parts of special relativity were known well before Albert Einstein's 1905 paper. The Lorentz Transform was first derived in 1887 by Woldemar Voigt.
  • Based on comments on YouTube on the Max Headroom Incident, you'd think that the idea of trolling on the internet is only about 15 years old and that the internet was invented around 1994 (see above for details). Truth is, it dates back to the late 80s at the very least, but back then it was an initiation process for newbies where someone would ask a question everyone knew the answer to for purpose of weeding out the newbies and only the newbies would answer, it was called "trolling for newbies". Snopes is someone who participated in this early form of trolling. However, the direct ancestor to what's known as trolling today dates back even further, to at least the late 70s, but until the term "trolling" evolved, these people were known as "griefers". Evidence of this behaviour can be found as early as 1981 on Google Groups archives of Usenet.
  • A couple of examples from the automotive industry:
    • In the 00's, GMC introduced an Envoy with a sliding roof and remarked on their innovation in print ads. Shortly afterward, Car And Driver pointed out that Studebaker had the same feature on a station wagon in the 60's.
    • In the mid-80's, government regulations forced auto manufacturers to install a third brake light into their cars. The folks at Chrysler probably had a good laugh since they had used third brake lights on their cars in the 40's. (Although theirs were mounted on the trunk lid instead of the rear window.)
  • The Totally Radical adjective "groovy" is most commonly associated with The Sixties, but it dates back to the 1940s.
  • The slang term "phat" is often thought to have been created recently, some time in The Nineties. In reality, the term has been in use since at least 1963 and was already being used to describe something desirable back then.
  • When the state of Arizona passed a tougher immigration law in 2010, the move was seen as largely controversial. One oft-stated reason was how unprecedented it was and so un-American in general. Of course, in actuality, Arizona's law mirrors the federal immigration law that had been on the books for seventy years.
  • The concept of a backronym is much older than most people think. As early as the second century A.D., Christians were using the Greek word "ichthys", meaning fish, as a backronym for "Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter" which translates to "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior".
  • Dude in Distress is not a result of feminism. Many a Fairy Tale features an heroine rescuing one -- or several.
  • Most people think Abraham Lincoln coined, "A house divided can't stand," but actually Jesus did.
  • Except for maybe nuclear proliferation and e-mail spam, just about any problem that seems to be unique to the modern age has been around since the dawn of civilization. War, famine, pestilence, pornography, right-wing crackpots, left-wing crackpots, bad politicians, pollution, gang fights, corruption; it's all been done, repeatedly.
  • If you ask someone when was color photography invented, a typical answer would be something like "I don't know, maybe in the 50's?" The answer would be correct, except that it refers to the wrong century. Color photography was first developed in the 1850's.
  • The word "earthling" was first used in 1595.
  • LEGO has had specialized parts and sets devoted to building one particular thing (as opposed to big boxes of random generic bricks) since the early fifties, no matter what that guy in his late twenties who just walked into a toy aisle for the first time in years and thinks They Changed It, Now It Sucks says.
  • Supercenter stores (discount department store/supermarket combinations). Although Walmart started opening Supercenters in 1990 (after a false start in 1987), the concept actually dates back to Meijer in 1962 (incidentally, the same year that the first Walmart, Kmart, Target and many competitors thereof opened).
  • Cataphracts were sporting shiny armor waaay before anyone in Europe had the idea and most certainly copied it.
  • Many people thought that the accusations that Barack Obama was born in Kenya/Indonesia was pretty much the first time a US president accused of being not constitutionally eligible on the grounds of not being a "natural-born citizen". However, the first president with that dubious honor is actually Chester A. Arthur who was rumored to have been born in a certain British colony we now call Canada.
  • The Masamune is a classic Public Domain Artifact, referring not just to a single sword but to the collected works of a famous swordsmith of that name who lived in the 13th and 14th centuries, although legends surrounding them have sprung up since then[1]. Nevertheless, people on This Very Wiki have mistaken it for an original creation associated solely with Final Fantasy VII.
  • The surge in education about the health risks of tobacco in the last two decades? King James VI tried to beat them to it by a few hundred years.
  • The middle finger salute? It dates back to Roman times, where it was referred to as digitus impudicus. So, up yours, Brutus!
  • Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore mentions that the Tsarist secret police were worried about people flying planes full of explosives into public buildings, and started to keep an eye on flying schools. 90 years before 9/11
  • The Sturgeon's Photograph, taken in 1934, is widely cited as the origin of the Loch Ness Monster myth, when in fact the Loch Ness Monster stories started in the 6th century C.E.
  • Christianity in Korea dates back long before the Americans arrived in the 1950s - in fact, it goes back to the Joseon Dynasty during the early 1600s, when the writings of a Jesuit missionary visiting China made their way to Korea.
  • Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder made a number of very interesting surrealist paintings... roughly 400 years before the surrealist movement appeared.
  • The term "electric blue" dates back at least as far as 1884 (according to The Other Wiki), and appears in a Sherlock Holmes story ("The Adventure of the Copper Beeches", pub. 1892).
  • Writing a prequel to tell the story of the father of the main character of a previous work? François Rabelais did this 500 years before George Lucas with Gargantua, the prequel to Pantagruel.
  • Likewise, remakes, reboots, sequels and prequels were not invented by Hollywood. It was common practice in ancient Greece and in 17th century France among classical authors to base their plays on well-known episodes of the Trojan war or to write their own version of the existing work of a more ancient author. Moliere's The Miser, for instance, is a remake of a Latin play, Aulularia, by Plautus, with some dialogues lifted almost verbatim! The public wanted to see how a new author was going to use the subject material; it didn't matter that the later was not new.
  • The term "wormhole" first appeared in Shakespeare's works, referring to a hole made by a worm.
  • The beginning of Barack Obama's "Forward"-themed 2012 presidential campaign was accused by detractors of being based in Socialism (the word "forward" allegedly having Socialist leanings), coupled with an appearance in Milwaukee's Master Lock factory in front of a blue flag reading "Wisconsin 1898" supposedly represented a labor union, made controversial by labor unions falling out of favor in U.S. conservative circles - "Forward" has been Wisconsin's official motto since 1851, and while the state flag was edited to include "Wisconsin" and "1898" for clarity in 1979, the coat of arms as a central part of the representation of Wisconsin dates back to 1881, with 1898 as the year Wisconsin became a state.
  • During his reign, Edward I of England passed an edict that made it illegal to burn coal thinks to poor air quality in 1285… thus, making such acts Older Than Print.
    • The concept of climate change made sound like a present day augment, forgetting that Theophrastus talked about such evidence when observing the effects of deforestation... BACK IN ANCIENT GREECE.
  • Animal welfare laws are Older Than Dirt as Ancient Egypt had such law to protect sanctified animals, including dogs and cats.
  • There was once a long period of struggle between Leftists and Rightists all around the world featuring propaganda, ideology, subversion, espionage, terrorism and all the rest of it. It took place between 1790 and 1815.
  • The Seven Years' War tends to be considered "World War 0," as it was a global conflict spanning multiple continents well before the actual World War I.
  • Back in the ninth century, Arabic scholar Al-Jahiz discussed the theory of evolution. That was a millennium before Charles Darwin's theory. See an article about the author here.
"Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten and to breed. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring."
Al-Jahiz
  • The concept of women wearing a hijab being a required doesn't add up. For many, it's optional and it's those who wanna practice modesty that commonly wears them. However, there were a similar type known as veil that dates back to 26th century BC. The Assyrian had such law and only noble women were allowed to have one because it was viewed as one's social status. This was long before Islam... and Christianity were founded. Ironically enough, Christian Nuns were among the inspiration to practice modesty within Islam.
  1. most famously as "holy" blades to contrast with the "demonic" Muramasa; these legends do often refer as if to a single blade rather than a set, at least in English translations