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

  • adj. No longer in use: an obsolete word.
  • adj. Outmoded in design, style, or construction: an obsolete locomotive.
  • adj. Biology Vestigial or imperfectly developed, especially in comparison with other individuals or related species; not clearly marked or seen; indistinct. Used of an organ or other part of an animal or plant.
  • transitive v. To cause to become obsolete.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. no longer in use; gone into disuse; disused or neglected (often by preference for something newer, which replaces the subject).
  • adj. Imperfectly developed; not very distinct.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. No longer in use; gone into disuse; disused; neglected; ; -- applied chiefly to words, writings, or observances.
  • adj. Not very distinct; obscure; rudimental; imperfectly developed; abortive.
  • intransitive v. To become obsolete; to go out of use.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Gone out of use; no longer in use: as, an obsolete word; an obsolete custom; an obsolete law. Abbreviated obsolete
  • In descriptive zoöl., indistinct; not clearly or sharply marked; applied to colors, faded, dim: as, an obsolete purple; applied to ornaments or organs, very imperfectly developed, hardly perceptible: as, obsolete striæ, spines, ocelli.
  • To become obsolete; pass out of use.
  • To make obsolete; render disused.
  • In botany, notingan organ which is rudimentary or scarcely apparent.

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

  • adj. no longer in use


Latin obsolētus, past participle of obsolēscere, to fall into disuse; see obsolescent.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin obsoletus ("worn out, gone out of use"), past participle of obsolescere ("to wear out, fall into disuse, grow old, decay"); see obsolesce. (Wiktionary)



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  • Excellent idea, seanahan! I sometimes add this to word comments anyway, so maybe I can round 'em up and tag 'em.

    October 9, 2007

  • We should use this to tag obsolete words so we can have a fun time looking through them.

    October 9, 2007