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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 predecessors
  • The committee thus risks foundering on the same rock as its predecessors.
  • And new students come along who lack the prejudices of their predecessors.
  • Contemporary laptops are generally cooler than their predecessors.
  • But all reefs are formed by millions of tiny coral polyps-and the countless shells of their deceased predecessors.
  • Each new generation of astronomers discovers that the universe is much bigger than their predecessors imagined.
  • As strange as modern whales are, their fossil predecessors were even stranger.
  • It is a curious book, as its predecessors have been curious, and for the same reason.
  • Nature examines how the new study differs from its predecessors.
  • What resulted were products that were simple, functional and more aesthetically clean than their ornate predecessors.
  • They're definitely a cut above their clumsy predecessors.
British Dictionary definitions for predecessors


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 predecessors



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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