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 VanDerveer also has coached against Goodenbour’s predecessor on the Hilltop, former Cardinal guard Jennifer Azzi. Steve Kroner,, "Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, Cal’s Charmin Smith set for 1st head-coaching matchup," 9 Jan. 2020 As part of an effort led by Ben Bernanke, Ms Yellen’s predecessor, a lawyer contracted by the AEA was present to hear any complaints about professional misconduct. The Economist, "Economists are discussing their lack of diversity," 9 Jan. 2020 This is all to say that Batman is in extremely safe hands, and the title looks to continue the gold standard set by predecessors Tom King and Scott Snyder. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Comics Watch: 'The Batman' and a New Era of Gadgets," 8 Jan. 2020 The figures stand in marked contrast to the final years of Barack Obama's presidency, when a median of 64% expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America's role in the world in a positive manner. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "On world stage, Trump loathed as much as Obama loved, Pew survey says," 8 Jan. 2020 Trump's immediate predecessors devoted the year preceding their reelection year, and a significant portion of their reelection year, to fundraising and building their campaign organizations. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Record early start for reelection campaign as Trump fires up base for 2020," 7 Jan. 2020 Trump's predecessors used uneven rhetoric about government employees. Lisa Rein, Anchorage Daily News, "A government shutdown and the biggest raise in a decade: How Trump gave federal workers whiplash in 2019," 29 Dec. 2019 The nearly two-year probe, which began under state Attorney General Dana Nessel’s predecessor, has resulted in charges against three former school officials. Fox News, "Probe into Michigan State’s handling of Larry Nassar is suspended by AG," 26 Dec. 2019 The probe, which began under Nessel's predecessor, has resulted in charges against three former school officials. NBC News, "Investigation into Michigan State's handling of Larry Nassar suspended," 24 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for predecessor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for predecessor

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Predecessor.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for predecessor


How to pronounce predecessor (audio) How to pronounce predecessor (audio)

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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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