9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ob-suh-leet, ob-suh-leet] /ˌɒb səˈlit, ˈɒb səˌlit/
no longer in general use; fallen into disuse:
an obsolete expression.
of a discarded or outmoded type; out of date:
an obsolete battleship.
(of a linguistic form) no longer in use, especially, out of use for at least the past century.
Compare archaic.
effaced by wearing down or away.
Biology. imperfectly developed or rudimentary in comparison with the corresponding character in other individuals, as of the opposite sex or of a related species.
verb (used with object), obsoleted, obsoleting.
to make obsolete by replacing with something newer or better; antiquate:
Automation has obsoleted many factory workers.
Origin of obsolete
1570-80; < Latin obsolētus, past participle of obsolēscere to fall into disuse, perhaps equivalent to ob- ob- + sol(ēre) to be accustomed to + -ēscere -esce
Related forms
obsoletely, adverb
obsoleteness, noun
nonobsolete, adjective
subobsolete, adjective
subobsoletely, adverb
subobsoleteness, noun
unobsolete, adjective
Can be confused
archaic, obsolescent, obsolete.
obsolescent, obsolete.
2. antiquated, ancient, old.
1, 2. new, modern.
Usage note
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for obsolete
  • Many of the other chemical agents currently used may also become obsolete.
  • The top-down educational hierarchy is increasingly obsolete, and good riddance.
  • Either way, the fact is that the technology is making the old economy obsolete.
  • Because of the accelerated pace, the impression spreads that anything more than a few years old is obsolete.
  • All the people involved have their interest in the obsolete technology of rocket companies.
  • By the time coal and gasoline run out, they will be obsolete, and it can hardly be said that the environment relies on them.
  • Always obsolete as soon as it's printed or typed or read or learned.
  • These are two cornerstones of relativity theory, which shows no signs of becoming obsolete.
  • Making the penny obsolete would be a financial burden on some, a relief for others and a disaster to familiar quotations.
  • Nominating conventions are still held but have been obsolete for many years as those decisions are made in the primaries.
British Dictionary definitions for obsolete


/ˈɒbsəˌliːt; ˌɒbsəˈliːt/
out of use or practice; not current
out of date; unfashionable or outmoded
(biology) (of parts, organs, etc) vestigial; rudimentary
Derived Forms
obsoletely, adverb
obsoleteness, noun
Usage note
The word obsoleteness is hardly ever used, obsolescence standing as the noun form for both obsolete and obsolescent
Word Origin
C16: from Latin obsolētus worn out, past participle of obsolēre (unattested), from ob- opposite to + solēre to be used
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
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Word Origin and History for obsolete

1570s, from Latin obsoletus "grown old, worn out," past participle of obsolescere "fall into disuse," probably from ob "away" (see ob-) + an expanded form of solere "to be used to, be accustomed" (see insolent).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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