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[pred-uh-ses-er, pred-uh-ses-er or, esp. British, pree-duh-ses-er] /ˈprɛd əˌsɛs ər, ˌprɛd əˈsɛs ər or, esp. British, ˈpri dəˌsɛs ər/
a person who precedes another in an office, position, etc.
something succeeded or replaced by something else:
The new monument in the park is more beautiful than its predecessor.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for predecessor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The next day was as fine as its predecessor: it was devoted by the party to an excursion to some site in the neighbourhood.

    Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
  • More fortunate than his predecessor (Achilles), he got off with a slight but enduring limp.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • I fancy my predecessor must have been a "slattern," for everything was thick with dust.

    In the Ranks of the C.I.V. Erskine Childers
  • Mr. Preston, Robert's predecessor, had never given him a moment's trouble.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Each succeeding generation had a right to the care of its predecessor in mind, body and estate.

British Dictionary definitions for predecessor


a person who precedes another, as in an office
something that precedes something else
an ancestor; forefather
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for predecessor

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
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predecessor in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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