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 biggest villain here isn’t necessarily a magical monster or alien conqueror as much as obsolescence. Christian Holub, EW.com, "5 comics to read this July: Reimagining classic concepts," 3 July 2019 Sensing that Bonnie is deeply attached to her bizarre plastic creation, Woody appoints himself Forky’s wrangler, kicking his own feelings of obsolescence to the curb. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Toy Story 4 Is an Existential Crisis the Whole Family Can Enjoy," 20 June 2019 Woody is confronting something harder: obsolescence and forced retirement. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Toy Story 4’ is a joy to watch," 19 June 2019 This old-school restaurant, tucked away beneath primeval trees in the getaway village of Grey Forest northwest of San Antonio, is stuck in a time warp of quaint obsolescence. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Zero-star review: Grey Moss Inn falls behind the times northwest of San Antonio," 6 June 2019 Comedy writer Nell Scovell’s book Just the Funny Parts grapples from the first page with her thoughts about obsolescence, saying: What are the 4 stages of every Hollywood Writer’s Career Stage 1: Who is Nell Scovell? Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Can't Men Like Louis C.K. Accept Their Ideas Are Outdated?," 4 Jan. 2019 But even this immense legacy in the scientific world wasn’t enough to guarantee its survival, and this decades-old ice survey would soon teeter on the edge of obsolescence. Scott Yorko, Popular Mechanics, "Back to Alaska: How a Legendary Glacier Adventure Almost Died When the World Needed It Most," 12 Sep. 2018 The problem is everything else: our busyness, our desire to never repeat an outfit on social media, the psychological and physical obsolescence of fast fashion. Alden Wicker, Vox, "The spare button represents all the ways we fail to be good consumers," 14 Dec. 2018 The Saudis, Goldwyn said, are also loathe to create economic conditions that would accelerate shifts to electric vehicles, hastening the obsolescence of their primary export. Clifford Krauss, The Seattle Times, "Saudis issued warnings against U.S. sanctions. But how much leverage do they have?," 16 Oct. 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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Statistics for obsolescence

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obsolescence

The first known use of obsolescence was circa 1832

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More Definitions for obsolescence



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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Comments on obsolescence

What made you want to look up obsolescence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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