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

Definition of succeed

intransitive verb

1a : 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
2a : 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

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Other Words from succeed

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web While Europe’s biggest economy is focused on fostering a recovery after the coronavirus pandemic triggered the worst recession in recent memory, the race to succeed Merkel in national elections a year from now is well under way. Arne Delfs,, "Germany Will Stick to Merkel Formula After She’s Gone, Ally Says," 18 Sep. 2020 These investments will help ensure that every student has a strong educational foundation that prepares them to enroll and succeed in college and in their careers. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, "Where 5th District candidate Christina Hale stands on coronavirus, racism, other issues," 15 Sep. 2020 But over the last two years, over the last year in particular, it's gotten traction in part because the U.S. has also implemented these other restrictions on Huawei, passing doubt over the ability of the company to succeed in those markets. Veta Chan, Fortune, "‘A real uphill battle:’ Why China will struggle to counter U.S.’s attack on Huawei," 10 Sep. 2020 The skills to succeed in politics are really quite different than in business. Joe Flint, WSJ, "Netflix’s Reed Hastings Deems Remote Work ‘a Pure Negative’," 7 Sep. 2020 In February, however, he was unexpectedly passed over to succeed outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger in favor of Bob Chapek. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "TikTok CEO quits as company reportedly plans sale to Microsoft, Walmart," 27 Aug. 2020 Decades of research show that boys who grow up in environments where emotional literacy is withheld struggle later in life to succeed in school, in the workplace and in relationships, ranging from friendships to marriages. Andrew Reiner, Washington Post, "Dads need to give sons the same compassion and nurturing they give their daughters," 25 Aug. 2020 This was not unexpected, and mirrors the need for early intervention to succeed in combatting influenza, another infectious and deadly respiratory pathogen. Michael S. Kinch, Scientific American, "How Politics Muddied the Waters on a Promising COVID-19 Treatment," 25 Aug. 2020 Find your own talents and areas of expertise rather than trying to succeed in the same ways as other people. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for August 20, 2020: Aries, people notice your dedication; Scorpio, be diplomatic, tactful," 20 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'succeed.' 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 succeed

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

History and Etymology for succeed

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-

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Time Traveler for succeed

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for succeed

Last Updated

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Succeed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for succeed


How to pronounce succeed (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of succeed

: to do what you are trying to do : to achieve the correct or desired result
: to happen in the planned or desired way
: to come after (something) in a series


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

Kids Definition of succeed

1 : to achieve a desired result : be successful Half of them wanted me to mess up, and half of them wanted me to succeed.— Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza Loses Control
2 : to turn out well The plan succeeded.
3 : to come after : follow This new model of car succeeds the old one.
4 : to come next after another person in office or position
suc·​ceed | \ sək-ˈsēd How to pronounce succeed (audio) \

Legal Definition of succeed

1 : to come next after another in office or position
2a : 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

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