pre·​de·​ces·​sor | \ ˈpre-də-ˌse-sər How to pronounce predecessor (audio) , ˈprē-; ˌpre-də-ˈse-, ˌprē- How to pronounce predecessor (audio) \

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

In a rare step, federal authorities combed through medical files and death records, seeking the toll of lives lost — from three of the clinics in the Knoxville area and a predecessor in southern Florida. Del Quentin Wilber,, "12 million pills and 700 deaths: How a few pill mills helped fan the U.S. opioid inferno," 14 June 2019 Modi arrived in Sri Lanka from the Maldives, where the archipelago nation’s new president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, pledged closer ties with New Delhi in a departure from his predecessor’s pro-Beijing policy. Washington Post, "India, Sri Lanka agree to step up anti-terrorism efforts," 10 June 2019 Besides her background, Greenberg is different from her predecessors in an even more fundamental way. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "New Colorado ag commissioner sets priorities, starting with supporting the next generation of farmers," 4 June 2019 Indeed, the 2019 Raptors are markedly different from their underwhelming predecessors. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "The Toronto Raptors used a high-risk business strategy to make the NBA Finals," 4 June 2019 Advertising Ishtayeh’s government, which controls those parts of the West Bank on which the PA has autonomy, doesn’t feature significant changes from its predecessor. Mohammed Daraghmeh, The Seattle Times, "Palestinian president swears in new government," 13 Apr. 2019 Unlike their predecessors, these two are still together — and planning to tie the knot very soon. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "There's a Wild 'Bachelorette' Fan Theory That Says Hannah Will End Up With Luke P.," 14 May 2019 That unique capability helped make its predecessors, the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti, such popular gaming options. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1650 is a $150 graphics card built to plug-and-play in any PC," 23 Apr. 2019 Her predecessor, Judge John Phillips, a Republican, was one of two judges responsible for one fifth of the children sent to the state’s juvenile prisons, about 96 percent of whom were children of color. Taylor Crumpton, Marie Claire, "The Story of the Historic Election of 19 African American Female Judges in Texas," 16 Apr. 2019

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

17 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce predecessor (audio) , ˈprē-\

Kids Definition of predecessor

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

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Comments on predecessor

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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