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adjective ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt, ˈäb-sə-ˌ\

: no longer used because something newer exists : replaced by something newer

: no longer used by anyone

Full Definition of OBSOLETE

a :  no longer in use or no longer useful <an obsolete word>
b :  of a kind or style no longer current :  old-fashioned <an obsolete technology>
of a plant or animal part :  indistinct or imperfect as compared with a corresponding part in related organisms :  vestigial
ob·so·lete·ly adverb
ob·so·lete·ness noun

Examples of OBSOLETE

  1. The system was made obsolete by their invention.
  2. <I was told my old printer is obsolete and I can't get replacement parts.>
  3. It may not be welcome news in her home state of Pennsylvania, but chemist Cynthia Kuper could help make steel obsolete. Experimenting with carbon nanotubes, structures a few atoms wide but 100 times stronger and much lighter than steel, Kuper calls her work an amusement park discovery. —Joanna Chung, Newsweek, 23 Sept. 2002

Origin of OBSOLETE

Latin obsoletus, from past participle of obsolescere to grow old, become disused, perhaps from ob- toward + solēre to be accustomed
First Known Use: 1579

Synonym Discussion of OBSOLETE

old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past. old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence <old houses> <an old sweater of mine>. ancient applies to occurrence, existence, or use in or survival from the distant past <ancient accounts of dragons>. venerable stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age <the family's venerable patriarch>. antique applies to what has come down from a former or ancient time <collected antique Chippendale furniture>. antiquated implies being discredited or outmoded or otherwise inappropriate to the present time <antiquated teaching methods>. archaic implies having the character or characteristics of a much earlier time <the play used archaic language to convey a sense of period>. obsolete may apply to something regarded as no longer acceptable or useful even though it is still in existence <a computer that makes earlier models obsolete>.


verb ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt, ˈäb-sə-ˌ\

Definition of OBSOLETE

transitive verb
:  to make (something) old-fashioned or no longer useful :  make obsolete

Examples of OBSOLETE

  1. While many … do describe various small, quick-loading 35mm film cartridges, modern technology has obsoleted these. —Herbert Keppler, Popular Photography, November 1993

Origin of OBSOLETE

(see 1obsolete)
First Known Use: 1640
OBSOLETING Defined for Kids


adjective ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt\

Definition of OBSOLETE for Kids

:  no longer in use :  out-of-date <The machinery is now obsolete.>
Medical Dictionary


adjective ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt, ˈäb-sə-ˌ\

Medical Definition of OBSOLETE

:  no longer active or distinct <obsolete cases of infection> <obsolete pulmonary lesions>


Next Word in the Dictionary: obsoletionPrevious Word in the Dictionary: obsolescentAll Words Near: obsolete
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