Definition of obsolete in US English:



  • 1No longer produced or used; out of date.

    ‘the disposal of old and obsolete machinery’
    ‘the phrase was obsolete after 1625’
    • ‘When today's technologies are obsolete, the old-fashioned soldier will remain essential.’
    • ‘This will provide a boost for farm investment and encourage the replacement of obsolete and unsafe machinery.’
    • ‘One minute, happy and in love, the next he felt like a wet newspaper, out of date, obsolete, discarded in the rain.’
    • ‘So here we stand, out in the pasture in very much the same way as the outdated and obsolete horse.’
    • ‘There were widespread concerns that the machines and the equipment they carried were at best old-fashioned and at worst obsolete.’
    • ‘Indeed, it's fairly normal to find that many lines in opening books are dated and obsolete even before the book hits the stores!’
    • ‘Isn't it time to declare all such vessels outmoded, obsolete and a danger to peace?’
    • ‘Indeed, does the love for sequels indicate that the very idea of artistic newness has become old-fashioned, obsolete?’
    • ‘The meaning of traditional astrological texts is frequently obscured by the use of archaic or obsolete terms.’
    • ‘Apparently the delay is due to some of the components being ancient and obsolete (dating back as far as 1999).’
    • ‘Several people - advocates and detractors alike - said rather oddly that in a hundred years time the dams will be obsolete, their machinery exhausted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He feared that she might choose to go back to Casey and that their evening and the date might become obsolete.’
    • ‘The dumping of obsolete machinery and technology in the third world, especially in India, is destabilising the very economy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By the time you purchase your new laptop - it's probably already obsolete or out of date.’
    • ‘Anything that has become obsolete must be discarded and replaced with some thing new and novel.’
    • ‘There is the inevitable small, unvisited museum, with its obsolete heavy American machine guns and twisted bits of aeroplane.’
    • ‘He is appealing for help from members of the public who own obsolete machines so he can unlock archaic files.’
    • ‘What's different now, though, is that feminism appears not so much dead as obsolete.’
    out of date, outdated, outmoded, old-fashioned
    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


[with object]US
  • Cause (a product or idea) to be or become obsolete by replacing it with something new.

    ‘we're trying to stimulate the business by obsoleting last year's designs’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘The marriage of edge devices and applications to broadband pipes sold to an increasingly mobile workforce obsoletes legacy voice models.’
    • ‘But the roll-out obsoletes the current system in one spectacular sweep, and is particularly aggressive, even for that company.’
    • ‘So what is this magic surveillance technology that confused him and obsoleted the court?’
    • ‘Ideas about storage architectures are obsoleting long held sacred tenets and myths about backup and archiving.’
    • ‘This single 31 ounce device virtually obsoletes whole families of current bulky (by comparison), radio equipment.’
    • ‘From now on, the merged entity will be known as ‘SRCAM ’, obsoleting the old ticker symbols.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It absolutely obsoletes the conventional automobile if we're right, and if we can get to those cost goals.’
    • ‘It's difficult not to be really impressed with a product that is so improved over its predecessors it obsoletes them.’
    • ‘They point out that, for customers, obsoleting an investment is not an ‘escape’ but a ‘closed door.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But even those changes are not being made for the sake of obsoleting anything.’
    • ‘It's not as if one technology were totally obsoleting the other.’
    • ‘We’re talking about obsoleting advertising as we know it.’
    • ‘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 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.’


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