an·​te·​ces·​sor ˌan-ti-ˈse-sər How to pronounce antecessor (audio)
: one that goes before : predecessor

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Antecessor may remind you of "predecessor," its synonymous and more familiar cousin - and there's a good reason for that. Both words ultimately derive from the Latin verb cedere, meaning "to go." "Antecessor" ultimately derives from a combination of "cedere" and the Latin prefix ante-, meaning "before." "Predecessor" traces back to a different Latin prefix, prae-, which also means "before," combined with "decessor," a "cedere" descendant meaning "retiring governor." Cedere" has many other descendants in English, including "decease," "necessary," and "succeed." Descendants of both ante- and cedere include "antecedent," "ancestor," and the verb "antecede," a synonym of "precede."

Examples of antecessor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With that information, the researchers could place H. antecessor more confidently within the human lineage. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 1 Apr. 2020 But visual inspection could not resolve where H. antecessor fit in the hominin lineup. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, 4 Dec. 2020 Though, a protein analysis of the 800,000-year-old tooth enamel of a H. antecessor published last year lends his theory credence. Connor Lynch, Discover Magazine, 17 Dec. 2021 The physical features of H. antecessor have left anthropologists puzzling over its relationships with other early humans. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, 1 Apr. 2020 The EVAs are both primal antecessors and evolved descendants of humans; occasionally, the two beings are one and the same. Maya Phillips, The New Yorker, 21 June 2019 In addition to marks showing flesh was stripped from the bone, evidence suggests the Gran Dolina residents—an ancient human relative called Homo antecessor—ate their victims’ brains. Kevin Webb, National Geographic, 6 Apr. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'antecessor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English antecessour, from Latin antecessor — more at ancestor

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of antecessor was in the 14th century


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Cite this Entry

“Antecessor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

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