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[suh k-sesh-uh n] /səkˈsɛʃ ən/
the coming of one person or thing after another in order, sequence, or in the course of events:
many troubles in succession.
a number of persons or things following one another in order or sequence.
the right, act, or process, by which one person succeeds to the office, rank, estate, or the like, of another.
the order or line of those entitled to succeed one another.
the descent or transmission of a throne, dignity, estate, or the like.
Also called ecological succession. Ecology. the progressive replacement of one community by another until a climax community is established.
Origin of succession
1275-1325; Middle English < Latin successiōn- (stem of successiō) a following (someone) in office, equivalent to success(us), past participle of succēdere to succeed + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
successional, adjective
successionally, adverb
nonsuccession, noun
nonsuccessional, adjective
nonsuccessionally, adverb
2. See series. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for succession
  • Her father gave her to a succession of six unpleasant foster families, the final one abusive.
  • The science of ecological succession tells us that such areas are important.
  • From an external perspective atoms can rotate randomly over a succession of frames with respect to one another.
  • So begins the succession from country to suburban to sprawl.
  • So that's six buttons you have to alternate between in rapid-fire succession.
  • There's nothing in here about the crucial question of succession.
  • Betraying no hint of boredom or resentment, he answered a succession of anodyne questions from reporters.
  • Directly to the north of the hotel, a succession of cross streets glowed as if each held a dawn.
  • Their aim is to encourage innovation and succession.
  • The national leadership has solved the internal problem of political succession, but it remains fundamentally insecure.
British Dictionary definitions for succession


the act or an instance of one person or thing following another
a number of people or things following one another in order
the act, process, or right by which one person succeeds to the office, etc, of another
the order that determines how one person or thing follows another
a line of descent to a title, etc
(ecology) the sum of the changes in the composition of a community that occur during its development towards a stable climax community
in succession, in a manner such that one thing is followed uninterruptedly by another
Derived Forms
successional, adjective
successionally, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin successio, from succēdere to succeed
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 succession

early 14c., "fact or right of succeeding someone by inheritance," from Old French succession (13c.), from Latin successionem (nominative successio) "a following after, a coming into another's place, result," from successus, past participle of succedere (see succeed). Meaning "fact of being later in time" is late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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succession in Science
The gradual replacement of one type of ecological community by another in the same area, involving a series of orderly changes, especially in the dominant vegetation. Succession is usually initiated by a significant disturbance of an existing community. Each succeeding community modifies the physical environment, as by introducing shade or changing the fertility or acidity of the soil, creating new conditions that benefit certain species and inhibit others until a climax community is established. ◇ The sequential development of plant and animal communities in an area in which no topsoil exists, as on a new lava flow, is called primary succession. ◇ The development of such communities in an area that has been disturbed but still retains its topsoil, as in a burned-over area, is called secondary succession. See more at climax community.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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