usurp

verb
\ yu̇-ˈsərp How to pronounce usurp (audio) also -ˈzərp How to pronounce usurp (audio) \
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

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Other Words from usurp

usurpation \ ˌyü-​sər-​ˈpā-​shən How to pronounce usurpation (audio) also  ˌyü-​zər-​ \ 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

Clark told the judges the judiciary should not usurp the executive or legislative branches in setting federal policy. Washington Post, "The Latest: US energy policy hurts young people, lawyer says," 4 June 2019 Will the girls resent the new children, feeling their place has been usurped? Georgene Smith Goodin, chicagotribune.com, "Our foster daughters went back home, but we still see them. Is part-time parenting enough?," 8 Apr. 2018 Almost instantly, the posture was usurped into a debate about the national anthem. John Branch, New York Times, "Why the N.F.L. and the N.B.A. Are So Far Apart on Social Justice Stances," 22 June 2018 In Breath of the Wild, Hyrule Castle is usurped by the evil Ganondorf and shrouded in a horrifying mist of crimson and purple. Cian Maheer, Washington Post, "From Ancestor Glade to Hyrule Castle, these are the eight wonders of the virtual world," 4 June 2019 But potential wins could also be usurped by the non-SNL names in these categories. Bethonie Butler, The Seattle Times, "Between hosts and awards, Emmy night could be SNL’s night," 17 Sep. 2018 As for central defenders, Kim Kee-hee had clearly usurped Roman Torres by season’s end as the No. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey prepares for longer offseason after fans sign off on retaining him," 13 Nov. 2018 T-Series is poised to usurp PewDiePie as the most popular channel on the platform, but fans and creators have banded together to keep Kjellberg at the very top. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "First printers, now the Wall Street Journal," 17 Dec. 2018 Johnson, argued Stevens, had tried to usurp Congress’s power to make law. Erick Trickey, Washington Post, "‘Kill the beast’: The impeachment trial that nearly took down a president 150 years ago," 16 May 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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near usurp

usurer

usurious

usurous

usurp

usurpative

usurpatory

usurpature

Statistics for usurp

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for usurp

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

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More Definitions for usurp

usurp

verb

English Language Learners Definition of usurp

formal : 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 How to pronounce usurp (audio) , -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 How to pronounce usurp (audio) \

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-​ How to pronounce usurpation (audio) \ noun
usurper \ yu̇-​ˈsər-​pər, -​ˈzər-​ How to pronounce usurper (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for usurp

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

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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

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