succeed

verb

suc·​ceed sək-ˈsēd How to pronounce succeed (audio)
succeeded; succeeding; succeeds

intransitive verb

1
a
: to come next after another in office or position or in possession of an estate
especially : to inherit sovereignty, rank, or title
b
: to follow after another in order
2
a
: to turn out well
b
: to attain a desired object or end
students who succeed in college
3
obsolete : to pass to a person by inheritance

transitive verb

1
: to follow in sequence and especially immediately
2
: to come after as heir or successor
succeeder noun
Choose the Right Synonym for succeed

follow, succeed, ensue, supervene mean to come after something or someone.

follow may apply to a coming after in time, position, or logical sequence.

speeches followed the dinner

succeed implies a coming after immediately in a sequence determined by natural order, inheritance, election, or laws of rank.

she succeeded her father as head of the business

ensue commonly suggests a logical consequence or naturally expected development.

after the talk a general discussion ensued

supervene suggests the following or beginning of something unforeseen or unpredictable.

unable to continue because of supervening circumstances

Examples of succeed in a Sentence

Ghosh's remarkable detective work succeeds in rescuing an entire group of marginalized figures from British and South Asian amnesia, if not outright denial. Maya Jasanoff, New York Review of Books, 18 Dec. 2008
Enter Gordon Brown. Journalistic legend has it that, over dinner in a trendy London restaurant as long ago as 1994, the two of them settled that Blair would lead the Labour party for an unspecified length of time and Brown would then succeed him. David Pryce-Jones, National Review, 28 May 2007
Maguire, a freelance writer who specializes in culture and technology and recently published a book about spelling bees, paints a vivid portrait of Sullivan as a tough-minded micromanager who tightly controlled every aspect of his show, even telling Ella Fitzgerald what to sing. Behind the avuncular, slightly befuddled façade viewers knew, he writes, was a man consumed by ambition and driven to succeed at any cost. Peter Keepnews, New York Times Book Review, 11 June 2006
You can succeed where others failed. The plan just might succeed. Their attempt seemed unlikely to succeed. Both of them have ambitions to succeed the prime minister. She will succeed him as chair of the committee. The Queen died and was succeeded by James I. James I succeeded to the throne upon the Queen's death in 1603.
Recent Examples on the Web Lady's mantle can thrive in partial sunlight but also succeeds primarily in the shade. Steve Bender, Southern Living, 9 Apr. 2024 The Jefferson County Republican Committee will nominate a person to succeed Beavers, but Commission Chairman Michael Adam said no action on Beavers’ position other than the acceptance of his resignation is expected Wednesday. The Pine Bluff Commercial, arkansasonline.com, 9 Apr. 2024 Healy is succeeding Christopher Meyer, who decided to retire, according to a regulatory filing. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2024 The film — starring Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry and Dan Stevens — succeeding in appealing to core fans and in luring new, younger generations. Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Apr. 2024 Dummy’s nine of diamonds is a winner; but even if West had held Q-J-10-x, Cy would succeed if spades broke 3-2 or almost surely with a squeeze. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, 7 Apr. 2024 Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä, who turned 28 in January, was appointed music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, succeeding Riccardo Muti and becoming the CSO’s youngest leader since it was founded in 1891. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2024 When Elizabeth died childless in 1603, 36-year-old James—her cousin and the great-great-grandson of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII—succeeded her, becoming James VI and I of Scotland and England, respectively. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 After all, baseball is all about succeeding through trial and error. Jaylon Thompson, Kansas City Star, 4 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'succeed.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English succeden, from Anglo-French succeeder, from Latin succedere to go up, follow after, succeed, from sub- near + cedere to go — more at sub-

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of succeed was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near succeed

Cite this Entry

“Succeed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/succeed. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

succeed

verb
suc·​ceed sək-ˈsēd How to pronounce succeed (audio)
1
a
: to come next after another in office or position or in possession of an estate
especially : to inherit sovereignty
b
: to follow after another in order
2
a
: to turn out well
b
: to reach a desired end or object : be successful
succeeder noun
Etymology

Middle English succeden "to come after," from Latin succedere "to go up, follow after," from sub- "under, near" and cedere "to go, yield" — related to concede, necessary

Legal Definition

succeed

intransitive verb
suc·​ceed sək-ˈsēd How to pronounce succeed (audio)
1
: to come next after another in office or position
2
a
: to take something by succession
succeeded to his mother's estate
b
: to acquire the rights, obligations, and charges of a decedent in property comprising an estate
the heir, who accepts, is considered as having succeeded to the deceased from the moment of his deathLouisiana Civil Code

transitive verb

1
: to follow in sequence and especially immediately
2
: to come after as heir or successor

More from Merriam-Webster on succeed

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