from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective No longer in use.
  • adjective Outmoded in design, style, or construction.
  • adjective Biology Vestigial or rudimentary, especially in comparison with related or ancestral species, as the tailbone of an ape. Used of an organ or other part of an organism.
  • transitive verb To cause to become obsolete.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In botany, notingan organ which is rudimentary or scarcely apparent.
  • To become obsolete; pass out of use.
  • To make obsolete; render disused.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • adjective no longer in use


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

[Latin obsolētus, past participle of obsolēscere, to fall into disuse; see obsolescent.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin obsoletus ("worn out, gone out of use"), past participle of obsolescere ("to wear out, fall into disuse, grow old, decay"); see obsolesce.


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

    October 9, 2007

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

    October 9, 2007