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Its kinda of a process that was evolved from a more basic concept (kind of like the definition of Lewis Acids and /bases, going from giving or receiving H+ or OH- to a more broad one.) Similarly, the definition of oxidation was originally the addition of oxygen to a compound or the removal of Hydrogen, and reduction was addition of hydrogen or removal of oxygen. With time as the concepts got more evolved the definitions changed to loss or gain of electrons but the names remained the same.
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