Help Wordnik hunt for a million missing words by backing our Kickstarter!


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

  • intransitive v. To come or occur as something extraneous, additional, or unexpected. See Synonyms at follow.
  • intransitive v. To follow immediately after; ensue.
  • intransitive v. Philosophy To be dependent on a set of facts or properties in such a way that change can occur only after change has occurred in those facts or properties.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to follow something closely, either as a consequence or in contrast
  • v. to supersede
  • v. to be dependent on an earlier event
  • v. to be dependent on something else for existence, truth, or instantiation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To come as something additional or extraneous; to occur with reference or relation to something else; to happen upon or after something else; to be added; to take place; to happen.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To come in as extraneous upon something; be added or joined; follow in close conjunction.

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

  • v. take place as an additional or unexpected development


Latin supervenīre : super-, super- + venīre, to come; see gwā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin supervenīre, present active infinitive of superveniō ("come over or upon, overtake"), from super ("above") + veniō ("come"). (Wiktionary)


  • In view of the important changes in his own life which were about to supervene, that is to say, firstly, his departure for India, and secondly, his coming of age before he could hope to return from that land of promise, he had counted on a quiet evening with his mother.

    From One Generation to Another

  • The system is said to "supervene" (I'm not making this up) on its components causing the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts.

    Latest Articles

  • Blog posts may not be reducible to stuff, but they do supervene on stuff.

    Matthew Yglesias » US Manufacturing and the Trade Deficit

  • And the stuff they supervene on is arranged through physical activity.

    Matthew Yglesias » US Manufacturing and the Trade Deficit

  • Sounds thus are not identical with and do not supervene upon the waves, since waves travel (Pasnau 1999).

    Auditory Perception

  • In general, at least in some exemplary cases, high-level structures supervene on low-level material flux.

    Doctor, My Eyes

  • Although objects of higher order are based on infima they are not reducible to them; properties of superiora supervene on properties of their inferiora.

    Salvation Santa

  • Nor is it just that appropriate moral predication must supervene on nonmoral predication, to put the point in a way that does not beg the question against non-cognitivism.

    Boys in White Suits

  • On this proposal the norms would be needed to represent the contents of the realist's thought because different realist theories might have the moral properties supervene on different nonmoral properties and a person could be a realist without being committed to the truth of any particular realist theory.

    Boys in White Suits

  • In a decohering no-collapse universe one can instead introduce a new psycho-physical parallelism, in which individual minds supervene on each non-interfering component in the physical state.

    ...anything but love...


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Philosophy To be dependent on a set of facts or properties in such a way that change can occur only after change has occurred in those facts or properties.

    July 29, 2009