[ ob-suh-leet, ob-suh-leet ]
See synonyms for: obsoleteobsoletedobsoletesobsoleting on Thesaurus.com

  1. no longer in general use; fallen into disuse: an obsolete expression.

  2. of a discarded or outmoded type; out of date: an obsolete battleship.

  1. (of a linguistic form) no longer in use, especially, out of use for at least the past century.: Compare archaic.

  2. effaced by wearing down or away.

  3. Biology. imperfectly developed or rudimentary in comparison with the corresponding character in other individuals, as of a different sex or of a related species.

verb (used with object),ob·so·let·ed, ob·so·let·ing.
  1. to make obsolete by replacing with something newer or better; antiquate: Automation has obsoleted many factory workers.

Origin of obsolete

First recorded in 1570–80; from Latin obsolētus, past participle of obsolēscere “to fall into disuse,” perhaps equivalent to ob- ob- + sol(ēre) “to be accustomed to” + -ēscere -esce

usage note For obsolete

Terms and definitions labeled Obsolete in this dictionary have not been in widespread use since the mid 1700s. Unlike some relatively familiar archaic words and phrases, like prithee and thou art, obsolete words and phrases are not easily understood by a modern reader, and obsolete senses of current terms, as found in definitions 13, 14, and 15 of nice, are even more difficult for a contemporary reader to recognize.

Other words for obsolete

Opposites for obsolete

Other words from obsolete

  • ob·so·lete·ly, adverb
  • ob·so·lete·ness, noun
  • non·ob·so·lete, adjective
  • sub·ob·so·lete, adjective
  • sub·ob·so·lete·ly, adverb
  • sub·ob·so·lete·ness, noun
  • un·ob·so·lete, adjective

Words that may be confused with obsolete

Words Nearby obsolete

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use obsolete in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for obsolete


/ (ˈɒbsəˌliːt, ˌɒbsəˈliːt) /

  1. out of use or practice; not current

  2. out of date; unfashionable or outmoded

  1. biology (of parts, organs, etc) vestigial; rudimentary

Origin of obsolete

C16: from Latin obsolētus worn out, past participle of obsolēre (unattested), from ob- opposite to + solēre to be used

usage For obsolete

The word obsoleteness is hardly ever used, obsolescence standing as the noun form for both obsolete and obsolescent

Derived forms of obsolete

  • obsoletely, adverb
  • obsoleteness, noun

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