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[ob-suh-les-uh nt] /ˌɒb səˈlɛs ənt/
becoming obsolete; passing out of use, as a word:
an obsolescent term.
becoming outdated or outmoded, as machinery or weapons.
Biology. gradually disappearing or imperfectly developed, as vestigial organs.
Origin of obsolescent
First recorded in 1745-55, obsolescent is from the Latin word obsolēscent- (stem of obsolēscēns, present participle of obsolēscere to fall into disuse). See obsolete, -escent
Related forms
obsolescently, adverb
Can be confused
archaic, obsolescent, obsolete.
obsolescent, obsolete. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for obsolescent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • An obsolescent appliance for reminding assassins that they too are mortal.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • A little but not very much of this is obsolete or obsolescent.

    Gryll Grange Thomas Love Peacock
  • The obsolescent Atahocan seems to have had no moral activity.

  • This ceremony is never trifled with, though it is now obsolescent.

  • The form with obsolescent ocelli has been named silvestris by Edwards.

    The Butterfly Book William Jacob Holland
  • The fighter-bomber squadrons use the MiG-17, an aircraft that is obsolescent but that performs well in a ground support role.

    Area Handbook for Bulgaria

    Eugene K. Keefe, Violeta D. Baluyut, William Giloane, Anne K. Long, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
  • His original instructions were obsolescent and he readily adapted himself to the altered situation.

    A Handbook of the Boer War Gale and Polden, Limited
  • I am not impelled by the archaic sex madness of the beast, nor by the obsolescent romance madness of later-day man.

  • The character of an obsolescent type has been caught with exceptional cleverness.

British Dictionary definitions for obsolescent


becoming obsolete or out of date
Derived Forms
obsolescence, noun
obsolescently, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Latin obsolescere; see obsolete
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for obsolescent

1755, from Latin obsolescentum (nominative obsolescens), present participle of obsolescere "fall into disuse" (see obsolete).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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