Definition of supervene in English:



  • 1Occur later than a specified or implied event or action, typically in such a way as to change the situation.

    ‘any plan that is made is liable to be disrupted by supervening events’
    • ‘As hypoxemia supervenes, the patient becomes comatose and death may result from ventricular fibrillation or asystole.’
    • ‘Even when the tort occurs first a subsequent event may supervene, removing the causative potency of the original wrong.’
    • ‘But it must not be allowed to succeed, because it produces manifest injustice. The supervening event has not made the plaintiff less lame nor less disabled nor less deprived of amenities.’
    • ‘Only in rare instances do serious complications supervene.’
    • ‘Bronchitis and pneumonia may supervene, resulting in hospital admission and sometimes death.’
    • ‘In each case, there was a supervening international context for the fall of the old Republic: the end of European colonialism in the case of France, and the end of the Cold War in the case of Italy.’
    • ‘Sleep disorders, disorientation, and fatigue may supervene, followed by serious intellectual deterioration, such as the inability to speak, recognize objects, read, or write.’
    • ‘I am sorry if I have given you bad news but my understanding is that there were two appeals involving the Department which have been withdrawn, apparently because of supervening legislation which deals with the issue.’
    • ‘On day two, by reason of supervening events, the defendant's negligence ceases to be a cause of that continued trading.’
    • ‘For instance, it has been claimed that events supervene on their participants, or that objects depend on the events in which they partake.’
    • ‘The company would have ceased as a result of liquidation supervening to beneficially own it.’
    • ‘Ulceration and gangrene may then supervene and can result in loss of the limb if not treated.’
    • ‘Complications can occur if infection supervenes leading to an inflammation of the gall bladder.’
    • ‘James was aged 82 years and lived and farmed in Clorane with his sister Maureen until illness supervened.’
    • ‘You were not for example in the position where you occupied accommodation that was reasonable but then a new or supervening event occurred which led to your current homelessness.’
    result, follow, develop, stem, spring, arise, derive, evolve, proceed, emerge, emanate, issue, flow
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    1. 1.1Philosophy (of a fact or property) be entailed by or consequent on the existence or establishment of another.
      ‘the view that mental events supervene upon physical ones’
      • ‘If all the atoms within you and in your vicinity have absolutely determinate properties, then the indeterminate mass and shape and volume of you, your brain, and your teeth somehow supervene on the determinate microstructure.’
      • ‘This is because it remains possible that evaluative epistemic facts supervene on naturalistic ones.’
      • ‘According to this conception, we supervene upon, contain, or bear some other exotic relation to a distinguishable source of activities which then become attributable to us by a kind of logical courtesy.’
      • ‘For consider an epiphenomenalist substance dualist, who holds the completeness of physics, and that mental properties supervene on physical properties, and yet mental properties are properties of a mental substance.’
      • ‘For it is clearly not in general true that to know whether an object x has a property P one has to know how things stand with respect to the facts on which P supervenes.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin supervenire, from super- ‘in addition’ + venire ‘come’.