• synonyms


[yoo-surp, -zurp]
See more synonyms for usurp on Thesaurus.com
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.
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to commit forcible or illegal seizure of an office, power, etc.; encroach.
Show More

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

Related Words for usurp

wrest, preempt, supplant, annex, commandeer, seize, assume, arrogate, swipe, displace, appropriate, take, grab, highjack, accroach

Examples from the Web for usurp

Contemporary Examples of usurp

Historical Examples of usurp

  • We are instructed by these petty experiences which usurp the hours and years.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • You usurp the power that is mine, and you deliver me—me, your son—to the gallows.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Lastly, he bethought him of the man whose power he was bidden to usurp.


    Raphael Sabatini

  • Who was to usurp my place at table, in my bed-room, and in my mother's heart?

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

  • I have allowed you to usurp the rule, to reverse our natural positions.

British Dictionary definitions for usurp


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

Word Origin for usurp

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 usurp


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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper