adjective ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt, ˈäb-sə-ˌlēt\

Definition of obsolete

  1. 1a :  no longer in use or no longer useful an obsolete wordb :  of a kind or style no longer current :  old-fashioned an obsolete technology farming methods that are now obsolete

  2. 2 of a plant or animal part :  indistinct or imperfect as compared with a corresponding part in related organisms :  vestigial





Examples of obsolete in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. The system was made obsolete by their invention.

  5. I was told my old printer is obsolete and I can't get replacement parts.

Origin and Etymology of obsolete

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

First Known Use: 1579

Synonym Discussion of 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



verb ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt, ˈäb-sə-ˌlēt\

Definition of obsolete




  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to make (something) old-fashioned or no longer useful :  make obsolete

Examples of obsolete in a sentence

  1. While many … do describe various small, quick-loading 35mm film cartridges, modern technology has obsoleted these. —Herbert Keppler, Popular Photography, November 1993

  2. … older cpu's whose speed and efficiency never were fully tapped before they were effectively obsoleted by their manufacturers … —Edith Myers, Datamation, November 1977

  3. For radio itself deliberately obsoletes today what it built yesterday. —David Sarnoff, Television, 1936

Origin and Etymology of obsolete

see 1obsolete

First Known Use: 1640

OBSOLETE Defined for English Language Learners



adjective ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt, ˈäb-sə-ˌlēt\

Definition of obsolete for English Language Learners

  • : no longer used because something newer exists : replaced by something newer

  • : no longer used by anyone

OBSOLETE Defined for Kids


adjective ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt\

Definition of obsolete for Students

  1. :  no longer in use :  out-of-date The machinery is now obsolete.

Medical Dictionary


adjective ob·so·lete \ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt, ˈäb-sə-ˌ\

Medical Definition of obsolete

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 :  no longer active or distinct obsolete cases of infection obsolete pulmonary lesions

Seen and Heard

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


feeling or affected by lethargy

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