su·​per·​sede | \ ˌsü-pər-ˈsēd How to pronounce supersede (audio) \
superseded; superseding

Definition of supersede

transitive verb

1a : to cause to be set aside
b : to force out of use as inferior
2 : to take the place or position of
3 : to displace in favor of another

Other Words from supersede

superseder noun

Choose the Right Synonym for supersede

replace, displace, supplant, supersede mean to put out of a usual or proper place or into the place of another. replace implies a filling of a place once occupied by something lost, destroyed, or no longer usable or adequate. replaced the broken window displace implies an ousting or dislodging. war had displaced thousands supplant implies either a dispossessing or usurping of another's place, possessions, or privileges or an uprooting of something and its replacement with something else. was abruptly supplanted in her affections by another supersede implies replacing a person or thing that has become superannuated, obsolete, or otherwise inferior. the new edition supersedes all previous ones

Did you know?

Supersede ultimately derives from the Latin verb supersedēre, meaning "to sit on top of" (sedēre means "to sit"), "to be superior to," or "to refrain from," but it came to us through Scots Middle English, where it was rendered superceden and used in the sense of "to defer." It will come as no surprise that modern English speakers can be confused about how to spell this word—it sometimes turns up as supercede. In fact, some of the earliest records of the word in English show it spelled with a c. The s spelling has been the dominant choice since the 16th century, and while both spellings can be etymologically justified, supersede is now regarded as the "correct" version.

Examples of supersede in a Sentence

Fortunately, the scientific enterprise has its own self-correcting mechanisms that eventually sort things out. Studies that are wrong will be superseded by better studies with different results. Studies that are right will be corroborated by other good studies. — Harriet Hall, Skeptic, 2007 The ancient human carriers of information and understanding—elders, priests, bards, teachers, and community members—are superseded by a more durable and efficient medium, the printed word. — M. Rex Miller, The Millennium Matrix, 2004 Upgrading America's too-old, too-slow telephone network, which took about a century to build, is a massive task. But if you believe predictions that the Internet will one day supersede the telephone as the world's primary means of communications, these companies will be road kill if they simply sit by the wayside. — Bethany McLean, Fortune, 6 Dec. 1999 This edition supersedes the previous one. Former stars were being superseded by younger actors.
Recent Examples on the Web The Legislature could create new laws that supersede the pre-statehood ban. Ray Stern, The Arizona Republic, 3 May 2022 The school boards say the governor's executive order cannot supersede a March 2021 commonwealth law that says local school boards should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 24 Jan. 2022 National laws supersede a Red Notice—which could be a big break for Ghosn. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 10 Jan. 2020 That federal rule covers many hospitals in the state, including the Alaska Native Medical Center and Providence, and would supersede any conflicting state legislation. Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News, 17 Mar. 2022 McCarthy says his commitment to winning must supersede it. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 12 Mar. 2022 However, Trudeau said the military will not be called to action, and the act will not be used to supersede the charter. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, 15 Feb. 2022 In order to supersede gatekeepers like the CMA, Black and brown country musicians and fans have found ways to build community, share their experiences trying to break into the country music scene, and promote their music. Rashad Robinson, Billboard, 12 Nov. 2021 Our own artificial intelligence systems are likely to supersede many features of human intelligence within the coming decade. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, 12 July 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'supersede.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of supersede

1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for supersede

Middle English (Scots) superceden to defer, from Middle French superceder, from Latin supersedēre to sit on top, refrain from, from super- + sedēre to sit — more at sit

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The first known use of supersede was in 1654

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Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Supersede.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for supersede


su·​per·​sede | \ ˌsü-pər-ˈsēd How to pronounce supersede (audio) \
superseded; superseding

Kids Definition of supersede

: to take the place or position of These instructions supersede those you received earlier.


transitive verb
su·​per·​sede | \ ˌsü-pər-ˈsēd How to pronounce supersede (audio) \
superseded; superseding

Legal Definition of supersede

1 : to subject to postponement or suspension especially : to suspend the operation of (a judgment or order) by means of a supersedeas
2 : to take the place of in authority : preempt, override
3 : to take the place of and render null or ineffective

More from Merriam-Webster on supersede

Nglish: Translation of supersede for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of supersede for Arabic Speakers


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