ob·​so·​les·​cence ˌäb-sə-ˈle-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce obsolescence (audio)
: the process of becoming obsolete or the condition of being nearly obsolete
the gradual obsolescence of machinery
reduced to obsolescence
the planned obsolescence of automobiles

Examples of obsolescence in a Sentence

the obsolescence of the old technology Once a useful tool, slide rules have fallen into obsolescence.
Recent Examples on the Web The ultimate goal should be total energy independence and the eventual planned obsolescence of the entire energy grid. Eric MacK, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 Where fashion and technology converge is in their mutual dependence on novelty and obsolescence — products need to phase out so that different products can phase in — and the current swing to big pants might prove nothing more than a brief overcorrection after the long reign of small ones. Jonah Weiner, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2024 Is there a way to explain A.I. that isn’t in terms suggesting human obsolescence or replacement? Jaron Lanier, The New Yorker, 1 Mar. 2024 Estranged from his son, staring down his professional obsolescence as part of a digitization push by the local government, his mental health begins to deteriorate. Christopher Vourlias, Variety, 17 Feb. 2024 After 12 years of production, the Aventador now faces obsolescence approximately five years too late. Michael Teo Van Runkle, Ars Technica, 30 Oct. 2023 Implementing just-in-time inventory practices and utilizing software for real-time tracking helps organizations minimize costs related to excess inventory, storage and obsolescence. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 Sadly, the very clever and innovative people who work in the very industry where the idea for artificial intelligence was conceived appear to have unwittingly contributed to their own obsolescence. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 7 Feb. 2024 News of Pitchfork’s obsolescence instigated extensive discussion about the kinds of media operations that are possible these days. Vulture, 25 Jan. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1832, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of obsolescence was circa 1832

Dictionary Entries Near obsolescence

Cite this Entry

“Obsolescence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsolescence. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ob·​so·​les·​cence ˌäb-sə-ˈles-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce obsolescence (audio)
: the process of becoming obsolete or the state of being nearly obsolete

Legal Definition


ob·​so·​les·​cence ˌäb-sə-ˈles-ᵊns How to pronounce obsolescence (audio)
: a loss in the utility or value of property that results over time from intrinsic limitations (as outmoded facilities) or external circumstances

Note: Obsolescence is usually distinguished from depreciation and physical deterioration.

economic obsolescence
: obsolescence that results from external factors (as location) that render a property obsolete, no longer competitive, unattractive to purchasers or investors, or of decreasing usefulness claimed that the appraisal failed to account for economic obsolescence resulting from an adjacent waste facility
functional obsolescence \ ˈfəŋk-​shə-​nəl-​ \
: obsolescence deriving from a lack of adequate or appropriate equipment, space, or design
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!