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usurp

[yoo-surp, -zurp]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to seize and hold (a position, office, power, etc.) by force or without legal right: The pretender tried to usurp the throne.
  2. to use without authority or right; employ wrongfully: The magazine usurped copyrighted material.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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
Related formsu·surp·er, nounu·surp·ing·ly, adverbnon·u·surp·ing, adjectivenon·u·surp·ing·ly, adverbself-u·surp, verb (used without object)un·u·surped, adjectiveun·u·surp·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for usurping

Historical Examples

  • She herself possessed all, in usurping her one rich kingdom.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • But in accepting it I should be usurping an honour that rightly belongs elsewhere.

    Scaramouche

    Rafael Sabatini

  • I went home to find the castle in usurping hands—in the hands of my enemies.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The Assembly were for usurping all authority, civil and military.

  • President Pierce's administration recognized the usurping faction.

    The Negro and the Nation

    George S. Merriam


British Dictionary definitions for usurping

usurp

verb
  1. to seize, take over, or appropriate (land, a throne, etc) without authority
Derived Formsusurpation, nounusurpative or usurpatory, adjectiveusurper, noun

Word Origin

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 usurping

usurp

v.

early 14c., from Old French usurper, from Latin usurpare "make use of, seize for use," in Late Latin "to assume unlawfully," from usus "a use" (see use) + rapere "to seize" (see rapid). Related: Usurped; usurping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper