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 The games on the court had been overshadowed by the deaths of Kobe Bryant and David Stern, Silver’s predecessor. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Zion Williamson Is More Than a Walking Mixtape," 22 Feb. 2020 Woodfin inherited this conundrum from his predecessor. Kyle Whitmire, al, "New Alabama monuments bill puts Birmingham mayor on the spot," 16 Feb. 2020 Louisville Courier Journal FRANKFORT — New Kentucky Board of Education members met for a standard business meeting on Tuesday, unhindered by a legal challenge from their predecessors that may threaten their authority. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "Federal judge sets hearing in injunction request from ousted Kentucky school board members," 4 Feb. 2020 Trump’s selections differ markedly from his predecessors in that a majority of his recipients – eight out of 15 – have been athletes. Christopher Devine, The Conversation, "What is the Presidential Medal of Freedom?," 4 Feb. 2020 The name change, introduced in 2016, was designed to differentiate a new iteration of 737s from its predecessor, the 737 Next Generation (commonly known as the NG). Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Should Boeing rename the 737 Max?," 21 Jan. 2020 New managers tend to be different from their predecessors if only because teams go in a different direction for a clean slate. John Shea,, "Why Astros and Red Sox should hire managers such as Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker," 14 Jan. 2020 His ability to make light of situations, and spew self-deprecating comment after self-deprecating comment, was a marked difference from his predecessor. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "'I wanted the job': Mike McCarthy confesses he fibbed in Dallas Cowboys interview with Jerry Jones," 9 Jan. 2020 However, Ustonson reels also received royal warrant from her predecessors, King George IV and his younger brother, King William IV. Colin Moore, Outdoor Life, "12 Awesome, Old-School Reels That Changed How We Fish," 22 Nov. 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

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

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Statistics for predecessor

Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Predecessor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 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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