[ yoo-surp, -zurp ]
See synonyms for: usurpusurpedusurper on

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

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English, from Latin ūsūrpāre “to take possession through use,” equivalent to ūsū (ablative of ūsus “act of using, employment” (see use) + -rp-, reduced form of -rip-, combining form of rapere “to seize” + -āre infinitive ending

Other words from usurp

  • u·surp·er, noun
  • u·surp·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·u·surp·ing, adjective
  • non·u·surp·ing·ly, adverb
  • self-u·surp, verb (used without object)
  • un·u·surp·ing, adjective

Words Nearby usurp Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use usurp in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for usurp


/ (juːˈzɜːp) /

  1. to seize, take over, or appropriate (land, a throne, etc) without authority

Origin of usurp

C14: from Old French usurper, from Latin ūsūrpāre to take into use, probably from ūsus use + rapere to seize

Derived forms of usurp

  • usurpation, noun
  • usurpative or usurpatory, adjective
  • usurper, 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