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 Balbus’s enemies accused him of usurping Roman citizenship and in 55 B.C. he was put on trial. National Geographic, "In ancient Rome, citizenship was the path to power," 4 Nov. 2019 More on Hall: Michigan State freshman absorbing tenets of program Worst-case scenario: The newcomer takes time to adjust to the strength and speed of the college game, and one of the other big men usurps his potential playing time. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Meet Michigan State basketball roster: Here's what to expect from each player," 3 Nov. 2019 In addition to being tall and hot, Oswine was a Pacifist ruler, and his reign on Northern England was one of tranquility, up until his warmongering brother killed him and usurped his kingdom. Allure, "The 23 Best Body-Care Products of 2019," 16 Sep. 2019 Two long-reigning kings of a Las Vegas magic act must put aside the secret feud between them to prevent a slick new performer from usurping the throne. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019 Otherwise, Cooper said, U.S. adversaries such as Russia or China could usurp the U.S. as a security partner. NBC News, "Senators warn Trump admin not to bypass Congress again on arms sales," 10 July 2019 The states said the federal government had usurped the language of the Clean Water Act that drew a clear distinction between federal authority and state or private landowners. NBC News, "Trump administration nixes Obama-era clean water protections," 12 Sep. 2019 Yost, a Republican, argues the local cases usurp the power of Ohio and other states to negotiate on behalf of all its residents and to divvy up any settlement money accordingly. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland.com, "Gov. Mike DeWine calls Yost’s opioid lawsuit takeover plan a ‘serious mistake’," 28 Aug. 2019 The states bluntly say that the negotiation plan usurps a role that is properly theirs. Jan Hoffman, New York Times, "States Clash With Cities Over Potential Opioids Settlement Payouts," 5 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for usurp

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Usurp.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/usurped. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for usurp

usurp

verb
How to pronounce usurp (audio) How to pronounce usurp (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for usurp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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