succeed

Definitions

General English

Information & Library Science

  • verb to follow a person and take over their job
  • verb to gain the intended result

Medical

  • verb to do well at what one was trying to do

Politics

  • verb to follow, especially to take the place of someone who has retired or died

Origin & History of “succeed”

To succeed someone is etymologically to ‘go next to them’, hence to follow them. The word comes via Old French succeder from Latin succēdere, a compound verb formed from the prefix sub- ‘under’ (used here in the sense ‘next below’, hence ‘next to, after’) and cēdere ‘go’ (source also of English cede, exceed, proceed, etc). The notion of ‘getting near to something’ evolved in Latin into ‘doing well, prospering’ – whence the other main meaning of English succeed.
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