predecessor

[pred-uh-ses-er, pred-uh-ses-er or, esp. British, pree-duh-ses-er]
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noun
  1. a person who precedes another in an office, position, etc.
  2. something succeeded or replaced by something else: The new monument in the park is more beautiful than its predecessor.
  3. 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
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British Dictionary definitions for predecessor

predecessor

noun
  1. a person who precedes another, as in an office
  2. something that precedes something else
  3. an ancestor; forefather

Word Origin for predecessor

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

Word Origin and History for predecessor
n.

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