- to seize and hold (a position, office, power, etc.) by force or without legal right: The pretender tried to usurp the throne.
- to use without authority or right; employ wrongfully: The magazine usurped copyrighted material.
- to commit forcible or illegal seizure of an office, power, etc.; encroach.
Origin of usurp
1275–1325; Middle English < Latin ūsūrpāre to take possession through use, equivalent to ūsū (ablative of ūsus use (noun)) + -rp-, reduced form of -rip-, combining form of rapere to seize + -āre infinitive ending
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for usurped
Few seem to have considered the possibility that he, and the court, usurped congressional power in both of them.Will This Man Make Gay Marriage Legal Everywhere?
Stuart Taylor, Jr.
February 22, 2014
The President should give back the powers he usurped from Parliament, letting the MPs form the Cabinet.Ukraine’s Prime Minister Tenders Bloody Resignation
January 29, 2014
I think she was too late: By 1919, art had usurped all of most pictures' functions.The Merriest Yule to One and All!
December 23, 2013
Lenin usurped the Russian revolution only eight months after Alexander Kerensky toppled the Czar.Obama's Dangerous Game in Egypt
January 31, 2011
On this, Breeden has delivered, as no profit has been heard of since he usurped the management.I Was Right
April 3, 2009
This was the rival whose place I had virtually, though not officially, usurped.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
The mother's authority has been usurped by her male kindred, usually her brother.The Truth About Woman
C. Gasquoine Hartley
Let us not be in haste to overthrow the usurped powers of the world.Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle
H. N. Brailsford
She no longer felt that she had stolen the rose or usurped attention.The Gorgeous Girl
His functions were usurped by a military league and his sons removed from the army.England and Germany
Emile Joseph Dillon
- to seize, take over, or appropriate (land, a throne, etc) without authority
C14: from Old French usurper, from Latin ūsūrpāre to take into use, probably from ūsus use + rapere to seize
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
Word Origin and History for usurped
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper