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[pred-uh-ses-er, pred-uh-ses-er or, esp. British, pree-duh-ses-er] /ˈprɛd əˌsɛs ər, ˌprɛd əˈsɛs ər or, esp. British, ˈpri dəˌsɛs ər/
a person who precedes another in an office, position, etc.
something succeeded or replaced by something else:
The new monument in the park is more beautiful than its predecessor.
Archaic. an ancestor; forefather.
Origin of predecessor
1250-1300; Middle English predecessour < Anglo-French < Late Latin praedēcessor, equivalent to Latin prae- pre- + dēcessor retiring official, itself equivalent to dēced-, variant stem of dēcēdere to withdraw (dē- de- + cēdere to yield; see cede) + -tor -tor, with dt > ss Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for predecessor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Following the example of his predecessor, in 1868, Mr. Gladstone resigned.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • He was as little and fair-complexioned as his predecessor was big and dark.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • It was a very kind thing in your predecessor, John, to write to me, was it not?'

  • The central portion of this cable much resembles that of its predecessor in 1866.

  • The day was worse than its predecessor, inexpressibly gloomy and disheartening.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for predecessor


a person who precedes another, as in an office
something that precedes something else
an ancestor; forefather
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Late Latin praedēcessor, from prae before + dēcēdere to go away, from away + cēdere to go
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 predecessor

late 14c., "one who has held an office or position before the present holder," from Old French predecesseor "forebear" and directly from Late Latin praedecessorem (nominative praedecessor), from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + decessor "retiring official," from decess-, past participle stem of decedere "go away," also "die" (see decease (n.)). Meaning "ancestor, forefather" is recorded from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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