Definition of obsolete in English:



  • 1No longer produced or used; out of date:

    ‘the disposal of old and obsolete machinery’
    ‘the phrase was obsolete after 1625’
    • ‘Apparently the delay is due to some of the components being ancient and obsolete (dating back as far as 1999).’
    • ‘Isn't it time to declare all such vessels outmoded, obsolete and a danger to peace?’
    • ‘This will provide a boost for farm investment and encourage the replacement of obsolete and unsafe machinery.’
    • ‘The dumping of obsolete machinery and technology in the third world, especially in India, is destabilising the very economy.’
    • ‘So here we stand, out in the pasture in very much the same way as the outdated and obsolete horse.’
    • ‘One minute, happy and in love, the next he felt like a wet newspaper, out of date, obsolete, discarded in the rain.’
    • ‘He feared that she might choose to go back to Casey and that their evening and the date might become obsolete.’
    • ‘Indeed, does the love for sequels indicate that the very idea of artistic newness has become old-fashioned, obsolete?’
    • ‘By the time you purchase your new laptop - it's probably already obsolete or out of date.’
    • ‘Several people - advocates and detractors alike - said rather oddly that in a hundred years time the dams will be obsolete, their machinery exhausted.’
    • ‘What's different now, though, is that feminism appears not so much dead as obsolete.’
    • ‘There were widespread concerns that the machines and the equipment they carried were at best old-fashioned and at worst obsolete.’
    • ‘There is the inevitable small, unvisited museum, with its obsolete heavy American machine guns and twisted bits of aeroplane.’
    • ‘Indeed, it's fairly normal to find that many lines in opening books are dated and obsolete even before the book hits the stores!’
    • ‘The meaning of traditional astrological texts is frequently obscured by the use of archaic or obsolete terms.’
    • ‘If, like me, you'd rather gargle drain cleaner than watch anything to do with our outmoded, obsolete head of state, there are only a few escape routes.’
    • ‘He is appealing for help from members of the public who own obsolete machines so he can unlock archaic files.’
    • ‘Two surgeries in the York area have made a huge investment in state-of-the-art machinery which will help to make obsolete the much-feared dentist's drill.’
    • ‘When today's technologies are obsolete, the old-fashioned soldier will remain essential.’
    • ‘Anything that has become obsolete must be discarded and replaced with some thing new and novel.’
    out of date, outdated, outmoded, old-fashioned
    no longer in use, disused, fallen into disuse, superannuated, outworn, antiquated, antediluvian, anachronistic, discarded, discontinued, old, dated, antique, archaic, ancient, fossilized, extinct, defunct, dead, bygone, out of fashion, out, behind the times
    démodé, passé, vieux jeu
    old hat, out of the ark, geriatric, prehistoric
    past its sell-by date
    View synonyms
  • 2Biology
    (of a part or characteristic of an organism) less developed than formerly or in a related species; rudimentary; vestigial.

    • ‘In most other insects the occiput is either obsolete or soldered to the hind part of the epicranium.’
    • ‘In the other three families the maxillary palps are vestigial or obsolete.’
    rudimentary, undeveloped, incomplete, embryonic, immature
    View synonyms


  • Cause (a product or idea) to become obsolete by replacing it with something new:

    ‘we're trying to stimulate the business by obsoleting last year's designs’
    • ‘The company wisely prefers this approach to obsoleting whole regiments of functions, and in fact hasn't carried out a serious purge almost a decade ago.’
    • ‘We credit Moore's Law with improving new computers while obsoleting old ones in less time than it takes to grow a crop of asparagus.’
    • ‘So Dalton declared: ‘the focus is to show not only the progression of the technology but also that customers who have invested in it aren't obsoleting their product.’’
    • ‘Although it has a new chassis, the computer company isn't obsoleting its current systems.’
    • ‘What happens if the car still has plenty of life in it, which today's high quality almost guarantees, but the electronic technology quickly obsoletes today's whizbang gadgets?’
    • ‘It absolutely obsoletes the conventional automobile if we're right, and if we can get to those cost goals.’
    • ‘Obsoleting products such as cell phones purely on the basis of their ‘coolness’ or lack of it will, of course, send the environmentally conscious into a mood of black despair.’
    • ‘The marriage of edge devices and applications to broadband pipes sold to an increasingly mobile workforce obsoletes legacy voice models.’
    • ‘There is no current proposal for a multi-phase move that would eventually relocate public safety agencies to the 700 MHz band, thus obsoleting all existing public safety 800 MHz equipment.’
    • ‘So what is this magic surveillance technology that confused him and obsoleted the court?’
    • ‘This single 31 ounce device virtually obsoletes whole families of current bulky (by comparison), radio equipment.’
    • ‘‘We think technology that changes the design of the shoe rather than just the function, like our pump that obsoletes laces, is where the breakthroughs come,’ says Chief Marketing Officer Baldwin.’
    • ‘From now on, the merged entity will be known as ‘SRCAM ’, obsoleting the old ticker symbols.’
    • ‘They point out that, for customers, obsoleting an investment is not an ‘escape’ but a ‘closed door.’’
    • ‘It's not as if one technology were totally obsoleting the other.’
    • ‘It's difficult not to be really impressed with a product that is so improved over its predecessors it obsoletes them.’
    • ‘Ideas about storage architectures are obsoleting long held sacred tenets and myths about backup and archiving.’
    • ‘But even those changes are not being made for the sake of obsoleting anything.’
    • ‘We’re talking about obsoleting advertising as we know it.’
    • ‘But the roll-out obsoletes the current system in one spectacular sweep, and is particularly aggressive, even for that company.’


Late 16th century: from Latin obsoletus grown old, worn out, past participle of obsolescere fall into disuse.