usurp

verb
\ yu̇-ˈsərp also -ˈzərp \
usurped; usurping; usurps

Definition of usurp

transitive verb

1a : to seize and hold (office, place, functions, powers, etc.) in possession by force or without right usurp a throne
b : to take or make use of without right usurped the rights to her life story
2 : to take the place of by or as if by force : supplant must not let stock responses based on inherited prejudice usurp careful judgment

intransitive verb

: to seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from usurp

usurpation \ ˌyü-​sər-​ˈpā-​shən also  ˌyü-​zər-​ \ noun
usurper \ yu̇-​ˈsər-​pər also  -​ˈzər-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

Usurp was borrowed into English in the 14th century from the Anglo-French word usorper, which in turn derives from the Latin verb usurpare, meaning "to take possession of without a legal claim." Usurpare itself was formed by combining usu (a form of usus, meaning "use") and rapere ("to seize"). Other descendants of rapere in English include rapacious ("given to seizing or extorting what is coveted"), rapine ("the seizing and carrying away of things by force"), rapt (the earliest sense of which is "lifted up and carried away"), and ravish ("to seize and take away by violence").

Examples of usurp in a Sentence

Some people have accused city council members of trying to usurp the mayor's power. attempting to usurp the throne

Recent Examples on the Web

The problem is that the federal government has gradually usurped the powers of the states. WSJ, "Federal Incursion Explains Growth of Double Jeopardy," 13 Dec. 2018 Because today’s pretty girl can easily be usurped by tomorrow’s pretty girl, and so on and so on. Elizabeth Wellington, Philly.com, "Here's to the day when being the prettiest girl in the room won't matter | Elizabeth Wellington," 13 June 2018 The Republican chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Mike Crapo, sent letters of protest accusing both banks of trying to usurp the role of policy makers. Alexandra Olson, The Seattle Times, "A look at companies embroiled in recent political debates," 4 Sep. 2018 Plenty of sea life, which isn’t surprising given geography and the fact our century-old Stanley Cup champion team’s name, Metropolitans, has since been usurped by New York’s second-most-famous baseball squad. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "What’s in a name? For Seattle’s future NHL team, more than meets the Sock-eye," 12 Aug. 2018 The left-back who has been usurped by Andy Robetson is one of Liverpool's only remaining players with suitable pace, so why not... SI.com, "Liverpool Fans Conjure Up Plan on Social Media to Cover Sadio Mane's Loss Against Brighton," 12 May 2018 Too many African-Americans live in poverty; have poor access to a good education; and are sentenced to neighborhoods where opportunity and promise have been usurped by adversity and despair. Dahleen Glanton, chicagotribune.com, "African-American families say ‘good riddance’ to Bill Cosby," 27 Apr. 2018 The letter castigates Comey for usurping the authority of his Justice Department bosses by announcing the conclusion of the Clinton investigation without seeking their approval, a criticism echoed by the inspector general last month. CBS News, "Report: Trump's lawyers blast Comey as "Machiavellian" in memo to Mueller," 7 July 2018 The letter castigates Comey for usurping the authority of his Justice Department bosses by announcing the conclusion of the Clinton investigation without seeking their approval, a criticism echoed by the inspector general last month. Eric Tucker, Fox News, "Trump lawyers attacked Comey as 'Machiavellian' in memo to Mueller," 7 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of usurp

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

History and Etymology for usurp

Middle English, from Anglo-French usorper, from Latin usurpare to take possession of without legal claim, from usu (ablative of usus use) + rapere to seize — more at rapid

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about usurp

Listen to Our Podcast about usurp

Dictionary Entries near usurp

usurer

usurious

usurous

usurp

usurpative

usurpatory

usurpature

Statistics for usurp

Last Updated

25 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for usurp

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for usurp

usurp

verb

English Language Learners Definition of usurp

: to take and keep (something, such as power) in a forceful or violent way and especially without the right to do so

usurp

verb
\ yu̇-ˈsərp, -ˈzərp\
usurped; usurping

Kids Definition of usurp

: to take and hold unfairly or by force The traitors usurp power from the king.

Other Words from usurp

usurper noun

usurp

verb
\ yu̇-ˈsərp, -ˈzərp \

Legal Definition of usurp

transitive verb

: to seize and hold (as office, place, or powers) in possession by force or without right the courts may not usurp the powers of the legislature

intransitive verb

: to seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully

Other Words from usurp

usurpation \ ˌyü-​sər-​ˈpā-​shən, -​zər-​ \ noun
usurper \ yu̇-​ˈsər-​pər, -​ˈzər-​ \ noun

History and Etymology for usurp

Latin usurpare to take possession of without a strict legal claim, from usus use + rapere to seize

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on usurp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with usurp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for usurp

Spanish Central: Translation of usurp

Nglish: Translation of usurp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of usurp for Arabic Speakers

Comments on usurp

What made you want to look up usurp? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!