obsolete

1 of 2

adjective

ob·​so·​lete ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt How to pronounce obsolete (audio)
ˈäb-sə-ˌlēt
1
a
: no longer in use or no longer useful
an obsolete word
b
: of a kind or style no longer current : old-fashioned
an obsolete technology
farming methods that are now obsolete
2
of a plant or animal part : indistinct or imperfect as compared with a corresponding part in related organisms : vestigial
obsoletely adverb
obsoleteness noun

obsolete

2 of 2

verb

obsoleted; obsoleting

transitive verb

: to make (something) old-fashioned or no longer useful : make obsolete
Choose the Right Synonym for obsolete

old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past.

old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence.

old houses
an old sweater of mine

ancient applies to occurrence, existence, or use in or survival from the distant past.

ancient accounts of dragons

venerable stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age.

the family's venerable patriarch

antique applies to what has come down from a former or ancient time.

collected antique Chippendale furniture

antiquated implies being discredited or outmoded or otherwise inappropriate to the present time.

antiquated teaching methods

archaic implies having the character or characteristics of a much earlier time.

the play used archaic language to convey a sense of period

obsolete may apply to something regarded as no longer acceptable or useful even though it is still in existence.

a computer that makes earlier models obsolete

Example Sentences

Adjective It may not be welcome news in her home state of Pennsylvania, but chemist Cynthia Kuper could help make steel obsolete. Experimenting with carbon nanotubes, structures a few atoms wide but 100 times stronger and much lighter than steel, Kuper calls her work an "amusement park discovery." Joanna Chung, Newsweek, 23 Sept. 2002 He exercised a right so rare, at this the fag-end of the century, as to be practically obsolete. The most fundamental right of all. The right to be the good guy. Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2000 I never had parents, really. My mom was gone, my dad was at work or with his girlfriends, we had baby-sitters. My parents were obsolete. Jonathan Kozol, Voices From the Future, 1993 The system was made obsolete by their invention. I was told my old printer is obsolete and I can't get replacement parts. Verb While many … do describe various small, quick-loading 35mm film cartridges, modern technology has obsoleted these. Herbert Keppler, Popular Photography, November 1993 … older cpu's whose speed and efficiency never were fully tapped before they were effectively obsoleted by their manufacturers … Edith Myers, Datamation, November 1977 For radio itself deliberately obsoletes today what it built yesterday. David Sarnoff, Television, 1936 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
But now, functionally obsolete, the bridges over the Cape Cod Canal are a side-scraping menace whose many maintenance needs have become an object of derision. Brian Macquarrie, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Jan. 2023 Hardcore fans can purchase physical media, such as DVDs, of their favorite movies and shows as the tech has yet to be completely obsolete. Anthony Tellez, Forbes, 20 Dec. 2022 Release dates are increasingly obsolete in the modern music landscape. Mike Wass, Variety, 15 Dec. 2022 Therefore, many of the biosimilars set to enter the market are already somewhat obsolete, as the newer Humira formulation makes up a growing share of the market. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, 14 Dec. 2022 Built in 1983, the 45-acre retail center is less than half occupied and is described as functionally obsolete. Dallas News, 12 Oct. 2022 The firm estimates that 57 percent of suburban office space nationwide is so old as to be functionally obsolete. New York Times, 5 July 2022 By modern standards, the tank is completely obsolete and will fare badly in Russia’s invasion. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 10 June 2022 In the 1990s, the Federal Highway Administration declared the Brent Spence functionally obsolete because its narrow lanes carried more cars than it was designed for – with no emergency lane. Rachel Berry, The Enquirer, 28 Feb. 2022
Verb
With a mission to obsolete the use of bullets, reduce social conflict, and assist the judicial system, the company’s products have been observing heightened demand even during the pandemic. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 With a mission to obsolete the use of bullets, reduce social conflict, and assist the judicial system, the company’s products have been observing heightened demand even during the pandemic. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 With a mission to obsolete the use of bullets, reduce social conflict, and assist the judicial system, the company’s products have been observing heightened demand even during the pandemic. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 With a mission to obsolete the use of bullets, reduce social conflict, and assist the judicial system, the company’s products have been observing heightened demand even during the pandemic. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 With a mission to obsolete the use of bullets, reduce social conflict, and assist the judicial system, the company’s products have been observing heightened demand even during the pandemic. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 With a mission to obsolete the use of bullets, reduce social conflict, and assist the judicial system, the company’s products have been observing heightened demand even during the pandemic. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 With a mission to obsolete the use of bullets, reduce social conflict, and assist the judicial system, the company’s products have been observing heightened demand even during the pandemic. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 With a mission to obsolete the use of bullets, reduce social conflict, and assist the judicial system, the company’s products have been observing heightened demand even during the pandemic. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Verb

Latin obsoletus, from past participle of obsolescere to grow old, become disused, perhaps from ob- toward + solēre to be accustomed

First Known Use

Adjective

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1640, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of obsolete was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near obsolete

Cite this Entry

“Obsolete.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsolete. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

obsolete

adjective
ob·​so·​lete
ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt,
ˈäb-sə-ˌlēt
1
: no longer in use
an obsolete word
2
: of a kind or style no longer current : outmoded
obsolete machinery
obsoletely adverb
obsoleteness noun

Medical Definition

obsolete

adjective
: no longer active or distinct
obsolete cases of infection
obsolete pulmonary lesions

More from Merriam-Webster on obsolete

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