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 The line, famously quoted by Kurt Cobain in his suicide note, suggests rock stars are better off flaming out in a brief blaze of creative glory than fading slowly into obsolescence. Brandon Griggs, CNN, 23 July 2022 The two obvious drivers involve age of the workforce and the potential for economic obsolescence of skill levels. Shivaram Rajgopal, Forbes, 9 Oct. 2021 Until, that is, her choice of practical footwear transformed festival fashion and helped save a heritage boot maker from the brink of obsolescence. CNN, 23 June 2022 But people and the planet pay a heavy price for indulging in the fashion industry’s obsolescence plan. Pamela N. Danziger, Forbes, 5 July 2022 Amid speculation of a 2024 run and talk of a Grover Cleveland replay, there’s an inescapable drawback looming over a third Trump bid for the White House: obsolescence. Gregg Opelka, WSJ, 28 June 2022 The fear of obsolescence creeps up on several characters in the book. Erin Douglass, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 June 2022 Contrary to the arguments that the casino had made, Tiverton had indeed taken economic obsolescence into account, Robert told the casino in a denial letter. Brian Amaral, BostonGlobe.com, 23 May 2022 Experts hypothesize that embryos can self-correct when healthy cell lines outperform the competition, pushing the aneuploid cell lines into obsolescence. Laura Hercher, Scientific American, 1 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of obsolescence

circa 1832, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of obsolescence was circa 1832

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obsolescence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsolescence. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for obsolescence


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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