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 Vacancy rates are rising most dramatically in Baltimore’s traditional business district, but the phenomenon is looming in other parts of the city and the suburbs, reflecting national trends as work habits shift and aging buildings teeter on obsolescence. Lorraine Mirabella, Baltimore Sun, 12 July 2024 In all cases, incumbents who didn’t adapt faced potential obsolescence. Will Daniel, Fortune, 9 July 2024 That, along with the rollback of DEI programs, may explain why survey participants targeted chief diversity officers for obsolescence. Alena Botros, Fortune, 21 June 2024 Now these two are just a couple of aging guys, reckoning with obsolescence, which eventually comes for us all. Stephanie Zacharek, TIME, 13 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for obsolescence 

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 21 Jul. 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
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