Definition of succession in English:



  • 1A number of people or things sharing a specified characteristic and following one after the other.

    ‘she had been secretary to a succession of board directors’
    • ‘Following a succession of appeals, however, the sentences were lifted.’
    • ‘But, a couple of months ago, it warned that its dividend policy was under review, following a succession of profit warnings.’
    • ‘There follows a succession of adventures, dangers, narrow escapes from death, and general blows of malign Fate.’
    • ‘There followed a succession of hospitalizations and, finally, confinement in a mental ward.’
    • ‘How should the home secretary respond to the succession of nasty murders committed by offenders under supervision by the probation service in the community?’
    • ‘The seemingly endless waves of corporate fraud were quickly followed by a succession of massive business failures.’
    • ‘I was in the middle of one of my passionate rants when the doorknob rattled, followed by a succession of loud knocks.’
    • ‘Following a succession of attacks, a large breakaway group moved clear on the first of three laps and opened up a decisive lead over the rest.’
    • ‘Yet, as the decade wore on and a succession of lacklustre releases followed to mixed reviews and declining, albeit still formidable, sales the proverbial chickens came home to roost.’
    • ‘The game came alive in the 20th minute when Bury, following a succession of a five-metre scrums, were eventually awarded a penalty try, the conversion a formality.’
    • ‘A succession of hits followed and by year-end, she had become France's national sex symbol and was rated among the top French stars.’
    • ‘A succession of books followed, mostly easy readers that told tales of the Revolutionary War through colorful pictures and monosyllabic words.’
    • ‘It was followed by a succession of unstable coalition governments.’
    • ‘Despite lacking any formal military training, he led his army of devoted followers to a succession of victories in battles and sieges.’
    • ‘More important, by following a succession of customized movements programmed by a professional, her progress seems to be under firm control of science.’
    • ‘What followed was a succession of high-calibre performances.’
    • ‘Their front facades and interior detailing followed a succession of changing fashions related to those of freestanding houses.’
    • ‘There then followed a succession of failures by the claimants to comply with their obligations under the rules and under orders of the court, notwithstanding repeated reminders by the defendants.’
    • ‘The city has struggled following a succession of high-profile business closures and job losses.’
    • ‘In my head, the faces of those I love appear, followed swiftly by a succession of pictures from my past.’
    sequence, series, progression, course, chain, cycle, round, string, train, line, line-up, run, continuation, flow, stream
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    1. 1.1Geology A group of strata representing a single chronological sequence.
      • ‘Second, there are many stratigraphical and palaeontological similarities in the Palaeogene successions of the Hampshire and London basins.’
      • ‘At this location, a succession of chloritized volcaniclastic sedimentary rocks are over-thrust by a massive undeformed quartz diorite.’
      • ‘Deep drilling in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea floor revealed a continental and oceanic substratum covered by upper Miocene and younger sedimentary successions.’
      • ‘The stratigraphic framework of the Dnestr Basin Silurian successions has been constructed from detailed lithostratigraphic and biostratigraphic studies by numerous authors.’
      • ‘Nested arrays of geophysical data on the shelf and upper slope are the primary means to imaging stratigraphic successions and associated facies architecture.’
  • 2The action or process of inheriting a title, office, property, etc.

    ‘the new king was already elderly at the time of his succession’
    • ‘Under Salic law (which prohibits succession in the female line), Ernst would be the British king rather than just the Prince of Hanover.’
    • ‘The Lib Dem policy would prove even more progressive than the mayor's plans, with partnerships that were binding in matters of inheritance, pensions and succession of tenancy.’
    • ‘I think he was confusing the constitutional succession in office with who was in charge.’
    • ‘It is a chairman's role to manage succession and the Fairfax process has, frankly, been quite pathetic.’
    • ‘As a fruit of the Pombaline vision, Goa is today the only State in India to have a uniform civil code, which ensures women equal rights of succession, property and inheritance.’
    accession, elevation
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    1. 2.1The right or sequence of inheriting a position, title, etc.
      ‘the succession to the Crown was disputed’
      • ‘If he does not submit his request to Parliament or if approval is not granted, then the royal loses his right of succession to the throne.’
      • ‘In short, the young princes arguably had an unqualified right of succession to the British throne, a right that was much stronger than their uncle.’
      • ‘Succession to the throne is based at present on the principle of male primogeniture, embodied in the Salic law, according to which male heirs take precedence and the right of succession belongs to the eldest son.’
      • ‘Ambitious, energetic, and very able, Faulkner was clearly positioning himself for the succession to Brookeborough.’
      • ‘William's own ambitions centred on preserving his wife's and his own right of succession to the throne, and in securing England's participation in the continental war.’
      line of descent, line, descent, ancestral line, blood line, ancestry, dynasty, lineage, genealogy, heritage, pedigree, extraction, derivation, stock, strain, background
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    2. 2.2Ecology The process by which a plant or animal community successively gives way to another until a stable climax is reached.
      Compare with sere
      • ‘Important ecological factors in modern communities include predation, competition, and ecological succession.’
      • ‘Diversity increases as succession continues, only leveling off when succession has reached its final stage.’
      • ‘The rate of change of plant succession in the valley varies widely.’
      • ‘Cattle or sheep grazing is known to have a selective effect on the composition of plant communities in early succession.’
      • ‘They represent communities early in plant succession, which can take many centuries in frigid ecosystems.’


  • in quick (or rapid) succession

    • Following one another at short intervals.

      • ‘Many printed editions with maps followed in quick succession, and newly discovered lands were soon included.’
      • ‘The light-heavy weights, heavy weights, and super heavy weights followed in rapid succession.’
      • ‘The sound was followed in rapid succession by three other loud noises, and the breaking of glass.’
      • ‘Several girls' schools opened in rapid succession.’
      • ‘This was followed in rapid succession by a letter informing me that the card had been cancelled due to non-payment.’
      • ‘Adrenalin coursed through my veins as I realised how surreal the whole thing was, meeting people off the internet in rapid succession.’
      • ‘The acts followed in quick succession, mostly performing two or three songs each.’
      • ‘Before any of them could crawl out of the back of the truck to see what the desert fox had seen, they heard a muffled boom followed by several more in rapid succession.’
      • ‘Numerous other hit songs were to follow in rapid succession.’
      • ‘In the middle of the century, one assassinated emperor followed another in rapid succession as army officers changed their allegiances.’
  • in succession

    • Following one after the other without interruption.

      ‘she won the race for the second year in succession’
      • ‘For the second year in succession, the event was held in the University of Wales indoor stadium in Cardiff.’
      • ‘They subsequently lost out to Kildare for the second year in succession by the minimum margin.’
      • ‘It is no coincidence that for the second Olympics in succession, cycling and sailing have won a good collection of golds.’
      • ‘This is the second year in succession that the club has won this cup, which is a wonderful achievement.’
      • ‘Then, for the second tournament in succession, it was the fitness of another player that determined his fate.’
      • ‘For the second year in succession, Carlisle are staring into the abyss of relegation from the Football League.’
      • ‘It will be their second table-top clash in succession after losing to Sherburn last week.’
      • ‘Throwing away a two goal lead once can be put down to bad luck, but to do it for the second game in succession smacked of carelessness.’
      • ‘The sad fact is that for the second time in succession Rangers were fiercely unlucky not to progress.’
      • ‘Among them was extra seating in the main stand, and for the second season in succession, United came to the rescue.’
      one after the other, in a row, consecutively, one behind the other, successively, in sequence
      running, straight, solid, uninterrupted
      on the trot
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  • in succession to

    • Inheriting or elected to the place of.

      ‘he is not first in succession to the presidency’
      • ‘He was elected to the position, in succession to Cllr.’
      • ‘A man who collects dead animals from farms does so in succession to his father, who established the little business many moons ago.’
      • ‘James had been an architectural assistant to Hawksmoor and later surveyor at St Pauls in succession to Christopher Wren.’
      • ‘It was that match that saw the emergence of the gifted Mauro Bergamasco at openside flanker in succession to the old warhorse, and captain, Massimo Giovanelli.’
      • ‘Harold was crowned King of England in succession to Edward the Confessor.’
      • ‘He added: ‘I have been here full-time for three and a half years as resident judge, in succession to Judge Tucker.’’
      • ‘He is well known on the local circuits and in Ballina where his speciality was coverage of the Town Council on which he honed the journalistic talents that won him the prestigious editorial chair in succession to myself and Terry.’
  • settle the succession

    • Determine who shall succeed someone.

      • ‘The Italian states were deeply affected by the European wars that were fought to settle the succession of the crowns of Spain, Poland, and Austria.’
      • ‘He settled the succession on his nephew, Princess Fei-ti's son.’
      • ‘When Bishop Rudd delivered a sermon at court in March 1596 which urged the Queen to settle the succession because of the likely imminence of her death, he was briefly confined for his presumption.’
      • ‘However, Elizabeth's refusal either to marry or settle the succession by legislation effectively left both issues unresolved.’


Middle English (denoting legal transmission of an estate or the throne to another, also in the sense successors, heirs): from Old French, or from Latin successio(n-), from the verb succedere (see succeed). The term in ecology dates from the mid 19th century.