Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who precedes another in time, especially in holding an office or position.
  • n. Something that has been succeeded by another: The new building is more spacious than its predecessor.
  • n. Archaic An ancestor; a forebear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who precedes; one who has preceded another in any state, position, office, etc.; one whom another follows or comes after, in any office or position.
  • n. A model or type of machinery or device which precedes the current one. Usually used to describe an earlier, outdated model.
  • n. A vertex having a directed path to another vertex

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who precedes; one who has preceded another in any state, position, office, etc.; one whom another follows or comes after, in any office or position.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who goes before or precedes another.
  • n. An ancestor; a forefather.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. one who precedes you in time (as in holding a position or office)
  • n. something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone

Etymologies

Middle English predecessoure, from Old French predecesseur, from Late Latin praedēcessor : Latin prae-, pre- + Latin dēcessor, a retiring magistrate (from dēcessus, past participle of dēcēdere, to depart : dē-, away; see de- + cēdere, to go; see ked- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin prae ("before") + decedo ("go away"). (Wiktionary)

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