[ yoo-surp, -zurp ]
/ yuˈsɜrp, -ˈzɜrp /
See synonyms for: usurp / usurped / usurper on

verb (used with object)

to seize and hold (a position, office, power, etc.) by force or without legal right: The pretender tried to usurp the throne.
to use without authority or right; employ wrongfully: The magazine usurped copyrighted material.

verb (used without object)

to commit forcible or illegal seizure of an office, power, etc.; encroach.



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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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for usurp

British Dictionary definitions for usurp

/ (juːˈzɜːp) /


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

Derived forms of usurp

usurpation, 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