ob·​so·​les·​cence | \ ˌäb-sə-ˈle-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce obsolescence (audio) \

Definition of obsolescence

: 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 Other retailers have also booked obsolescence charges. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, "Clothing Companies Want to Hold On to Unsold Inventory," 24 June 2020 And two of the great legal dramas of the year — two of the greatest dramas of our time — confront their own obsolescence head-on, mixing individual standout cases with years-long character studies. Darren Franich, EW.com, "The death and life of the lawyer show," 18 June 2020 Finnish household debt has doubled in the past two decades against a backdrop of falling interest rates and the gradual obsolescence of cash as a form of payment. Kati Pohjanpalo, Bloomberg.com, "World’s Happiest People Seek Road to Financial Literacy," 10 May 2020 Repair helps demystify our electronics, makes us better stewards of our indispensable devices, and helps us advocate for policies that counteract built-in obsolescence, which needlessly impacts our planet. Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fifty Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since the First Earth Day," 22 Apr. 2020 This is the sort of movie that’s been squeezed into obsolescence — a mid-budget yarn that isn’t begging for prizes. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "‘Outbreak’ Was a Hit in 1995. Now We’re Living the Sequel.," 30 Mar. 2020 Also reaching critical mass is a feeling of obsolescence. Sylvia Poggioli, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 23–29," 29 Mar. 2020 In his first two film projects as writer and director, 2015’s Ex Machina and 2018’s Annihilation, Garland teased the prospect of human obsolescence, if not extinction, in scenarios involving artificial intelligence and environmental crisis. Time, "FX on Hulu’s First Streaming Series, Devs, Is a Tech Thriller With Cosmic Ambitions," 3 Mar. 2020 Nathan Proctor, the head of The Federation of State Public Interest Research Group's Right to Repair Campaign, told Motherboard there needs to be more transparency in the obsolescence of devices. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "If Your Sonos Speaker Was Made Before 2011, You're About to Need a New One," 22 Jan. 2020

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

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First Known Use of obsolescence

circa 1832, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for obsolescence

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The first known use of obsolescence was circa 1832

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Statistics for obsolescence

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obsolescence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsolescence. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for obsolescence


How to pronounce obsolescence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of obsolescence

: the condition of no longer being used or useful : the condition of being obsolete


ob·​so·​les·​cence | \ ˌäb-sə-ˈles-ᵊns How to pronounce obsolescence (audio) \

Legal Definition of obsolescence

: 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

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