an·​te·​ces·​sor | \ ˌan-ti-ˈse-sər How to pronounce antecessor (audio) \

Definition of antecessor

: 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 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antecessor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of antecessor

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for antecessor

Middle English antecessour, from Latin antecessor — more at ancestor

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

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Cite this Entry

“Antecessor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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