pre·de·ces·sor | \ ˈpre-də-ˌse-sər , ˈprē- ; ˌpre-də-ˈse- , ˌprē- \

Definition of predecessor 

1 : one that precedes especially : a person who has previously occupied a position or office to which another has succeeded

2 archaic : ancestor

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Examples of predecessor in a Sentence

Today's computers are much faster than their predecessors were. the once-ubiquitous typewriter was the predecessor of today's electronic keyboard

Recent Examples on the Web

Reviews for the album weren’t kind, and its chart success and cultural impact paled in comparison to many predecessors. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Incubus crushes sweltering, sold-out show at Milwaukee's Eagles Ballroom," 14 July 2018 Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, has similarly Eurosceptic views to his predecessor, but a rather different attitude to work. The Economist, "A quiet revolution in Theresa May’s cabinet," 12 July 2018 And while Trump’s predecessors have asked NATO members, including Germany, to show allegiance to the alliance by putting more money into their own defense, none of them have suggested the world and the U.S. might be better off without NATO. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "Trump's NATO trip: In like a lion, out like a lamb," 12 July 2018 Where his predecessors leapt into the spotlight that comes with leading one of America’s largest school districts, Wilcox was happier listening quietly than making speeches before cameras. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "Quiet agitator at CMS prepares to rattle some cages in his second year," 12 July 2018 But in Pusha’s case, like many of his predecessors and peers, the separation is real. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 That already stood in strong contrast to her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder of the Social Democrats, who long championed the gas connection. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "The Russian pipeline to Germany that Trump is so mad about, explained," 11 July 2018 Ragan had served as benefactress to his predecessor, and her money helped make Rosenberger the youngest House speaker in the nation. Chrissie Thompson,, "FBI visits luxury condo owned by heiress and rented by former Ohio Speaker Rosenberger," 9 June 2018 Dampeer of Fool’s Errand imagines his business will have a similar atmosphere to his predecessor at Mojo Cafe. Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "Divisadero has become SF’s most prolific new restaurant neighborhood," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'predecessor.' 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 predecessor

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for predecessor

Middle English predecessour, from Anglo-French predecessur, from Late Latin praedecessor, from Latin prae- pre- + decessor retiring governor, from decedere to depart, retire from office — more at decease

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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The first known use of predecessor was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of predecessor

: a person who had a job or position before someone else

: something that comes before something else


pre·de·ces·sor | \ ˈpre-də-ˌse-sər , ˈprē- \

Kids Definition of predecessor

: a person who held a job or position before someone else

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