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

Unlike many of his predecessors in the White House, Trump appears to understand innately the hooliganism and brutality at the heart of the CCP. Chen Guangcheng, Twin Cities, "Chen Guangcheng: Trump has the right strategy on Beijing. As a Chinese dissident, I’d know.," 5 Sep. 2019 Both of his predecessors — May and David Cameron — were brought down by Brexit setbacks, and Johnson seems determined to avoid their fate. Washington Post, "UK’s Johnson is gambling his future on suspending Parliament," 29 Aug. 2019 Jones has at least managed to succeed where many of his predecessors failed in getting the fans on side and behind the team, but at the moment, the results simply aren't there., "3 Problems Nathan Jones Must Solve to Save Stoke City From Championship Obscurity," 27 Aug. 2019 The third version of Yankee Stadium has retained some of the charm of its predecessors. Mark Gonzales,, "Can’t afford a trip to London? Here are 5 attractive trips for Cubs fans in 2020," 13 Aug. 2019 Recent studies are shedding light on the different living habits of our predecessors. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Humans survived off rodents in the mountains during the last ice age, study says," 8 Aug. 2019 The chip was designed with AI in mind, will double the graphics capability of its predecessors, and will add support for a more speedy Wi-Fi standard. Alex Baker-whitcomb, WIRED, "Poisoned Air in Paris, Intel's New Chips, and More News," 1 Aug. 2019 To be successful, the product must succeed where a series of predecessors have stumbled. John Lauerman,, "Johnson & Johnson is about to test an experimental HIV vaccine on thousands of people," 12 July 2019 Evers doesn't have as much flexibility as two of his predecessors — Republican Tommy Thompson and Democrat Jim Doyle — because voters over the years have amended the state constitution to curtail the veto powers of governors. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP lawmakers spark new clash over Tony Evers' authority with constitutional amendment to limit veto power," 9 July 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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Statistics for predecessor

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for predecessor

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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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