usurp·​er yu̇-ˈsər-pər How to pronounce usurper (audio)
-ˈzər- How to pronounce usurper (audio)
plural usurpers
: one who usurps something: such as
: one who seizes and holds office, power, position, etc., by force or without right
… they are working through the harrowing part in which Frederick, the usurper of his brother's dukedom, banishes his niece Rosalind from his court.Lawrence Malkin
At 19, she's the besotted lover of King Richard III—until he's slain by the usurper King Henry VII and she's forced to become Henry's wife.Joanna Powell
: one who takes the place of another by or as if by force
The new people have come, the usurpers, with their private jets and home theaters … , scaring the waterfowl and scattering the discreet and peaceful ease.Dwight Garner
: one who takes or makes use of something without right
For example, a co-owner may alone take all the necessary steps for the preservation of the property, including the institution of suits against trespassers or usurpers.Louisiana Civil Code

Examples of usurper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web They were greeted as usurpers of jobs and, in the West, then still a lawless frontier, many were brutalized and massacred. Ligaya Mishan David Chow, New York Times, 19 Sep. 2023 But any struggle whatsoever from Georgia is welcome news to potential usurpers of the throne. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2023 Any Democrat with power was seen as a usurper of power that should, by right, be Cuomo’s. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 4 Aug. 2021 Its melancholic hero, Juicy (Marcel Spears), isn’t especially haunted by the appearance of his father’s ghost telling him to kill his usurper. Vulture, 12 Apr. 2023 After the Han Chinese Ming dynasty was defeated by the Manchu founders of the Qing dynasty in the seventeenth century, rebels who hoped to restore the Ming saw the new regime as foreign usurpers who would destroy Chinese civilization. Ian Buruma, Harper's Magazine, 11 Jan. 2022 My father’s usurper. New York Times, 10 Feb. 2022 To put it bluntly, Catherine was a usurper. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 May 2020 Bayern is not facing one usurper. Rory Smith, New York Times, 3 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'usurper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of usurper was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near usurper

Cite this Entry

“Usurper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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