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 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 The latest victim in the slow death of physical retail is Barneys New York, which is prepping for obsolescence by liquidating all of its merchandise. Kim Bhasin, chicagotribune.com, "It’s the most desperate time of the year — for retailers," 6 Dec. 2019 His Bosley was a wily charmer — and, surprise, an angry old man raging against his own future-is-female obsolescence. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Can Star Trek: Picard recover from its bafflingly bad premiere?," 23 Jan. 2020 Not that a heavy hand in the offense wasn’t a Kelly strength at some of his previous stops and potentially at ND too, but the taffy pull that makes Notre Dame different in terms of demands coaxed that approach into obsolescence. Eric Hansen, Indianapolis Star, "Hansen: Naming Tommy Rees as offensive coordinator still doesn't complete ND's big picture," 15 Jan. 2020 Online obsolescence This would matter less if the company had made a successful transition to selling online. Geoffrey Smith, Fortune, "‘Hug-Gate,’ Inventory Screw-ups, Ousted CEOs: How a Fashion Retailer Went from On Trend to On the Brink," 19 Dec. 2019 If history is anything to go by, this is what might help carriers dodge obsolescence. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Drone-Launching Submarines—Not Aircraft Carriers—Could Win the Next Battle of Midway," 4 Nov. 2019 People who want to implant chips and antenna coils from existing transit and payment cards may have to deal with the obsolescence issue, since payment data expires and transit systems often phase out specific chip types in favor of others. Yael Grauer, Ars Technica, "A practical guide to microchip implants," 3 Jan. 2018

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

12 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obsolescence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsolescence. Accessed 4 Apr. 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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