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[yoo-surp, -zurp] /yuˈsɜrp, -ˈzɜrp/
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.
Origin of usurp
1275-1325; Middle English < Latin ūsūrpāre to take possession through use, equivalent to ūsū (ablative of ūsus use (noun)) + -rp-, reduced form of -rip-, combining form of rapere to seize + -āre infinitive ending
Related forms
usurper, noun
usurpingly, adverb
nonusurping, adjective
nonusurpingly, adverb
self-usurp, verb (used without object)
unusurped, adjective
unusurping, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for usurper


to seize, take over, or appropriate (land, a throne, etc) without authority
Derived Forms
usurpation, noun
usurpative, usurpatory, adjective
usurper, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for usurper



early 14c., from Old French usurper, from Latin usurpare "make use of, seize for use," in Late Latin "to assume unlawfully," from usus "a use" (see use) + rapere "to seize" (see rapid). Related: Usurped; usurping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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