supersede

verb

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superseded; superseding

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
superseder noun

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.

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

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 Studies that are wrong will be superseded by better studies with different results.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The ancient human carriers of information and understanding—elders, priests, bards, teachers, and community members—are superseded by a more durable and efficient medium, the printed word.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 On Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a 16-count superseding indictment against Richard Alan Abrusci, 45, of South Lake Tahoe, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento announced Friday in a news release. Rosalio Ahumada, Sacramento Bee, 5 Apr. 2024 This evolution reflects a broader trend towards experiential travel, where the desire for unique, memorable experiences supersedes traditional tourism. Jordi Lippe-McGraw, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for supersede 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'supersede.' 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 (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

First Known Use

1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of supersede was in 1654

Dictionary Entries Near supersede

Cite this Entry

“Supersede.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supersede. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

supersede

verb
su·​per·​sede ˌsü-pər-ˈsēd How to pronounce supersede (audio)
superseded; superseding
1
: to force out of use as inferior
2
: to take the place, room, or position of : replace
3
: to remove in favor of another
superseder noun
supersedure
-ˈsē-jər
noun
Etymology

Middle English superceden "to defer," from early French superceder, from Latin supersedēre "to sit on top of, refrain from," from super "over, above," and sedēre "to sit"

Legal Definition

supersede

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superseded; superseding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

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