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Supersede vs Supercede - Virtual Sacrifice Log
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Supersede vs Supercede
Read the post, take the poll.

OED on Supercede:
var. (now erron.) of SUPERSEDE.

OED on Supersede:

1. trans. To postpone, defer, put off, suspend the execution of. Sc. Obs.

1491 Acta Dom. Conc. (1839) 196/2 He sall supercede e payment of e said vc frankis. 1533 BELLENDEN Livy II. xxi. (S.T.S.) I. 214 e equis and Wolschis wald supersede are batall na langare bot quhil e recent doloure of are last discomfitoure war ourepast. 1580-1 Reg. Privy Council Scot. Ser. I. III. 346 His Majestie..will caus superceid the executioun of rigour of his lawis..aganis thame for sum ressonable space. 1618 LD. DUNFERMLINE Let. in G. Seton Mem. vi. (1882) 126, I..am content ye superseid the outredding of the warke, till your leisour and commoditie permitt you to see it donne. 1646 SIR T. HOPE Let. in Misc. Scott. Hist. Soc. (1893) I. 135, I sall labour..to supercid the bargen of the land to zour awin coming.

b. To defer taking action with respect to; to put aside (a thing); to put off (a person). Sc. Obs.

1533 BELLENDEN Livy II. xxi. (S.T.S.) I. 214 Thus mycht nowthir are weris be supersedit [orig. omitti] nor it clerely dantit. Ibid. IV. xxii. II. 130 How e romanis send are legatis to Veanis to desire reddres..; how e veanis war supersedit for e Civil divisioun amang ame. 1591 Exch. Rolls Scotl. XXII. 572 Johne Chalmer..promest faithfullie to caus him compeir the said day..and the thesaurar hes superceidit him quhill the said day.

c. intr. or absol. To defer action, to delay, hesitate. Sc. Obs.

c1550 ROLLAND Crt. Venus II. 164 Without mair baid thay wald not superseid. Ibid. 624 To clym one Cord faith I will superseid. 1639 SIR T. HOPE Let. in Misc. Scott. Hist. Soc. (1893) I. 110 If ye resolue to supercid at hir request till Witsonday.

d. intr. for pass. To be postponed. Sc. Obs.

1569 Reg. Privy Council Scot. Ser. I. I. 687 His bill of complaint; quhairupoun answer wes to superceid quhill his Graces cuming.

2. trans. To desist from, discontinue (a procedure, an attempt, etc.); not to proceed with. Obs.

1527 St. Papers Hen. VIII, I. 246, I could not see, but Your bothe Majesties must supersede and give place to your ardent appetites, in concluding of the said mariage. 1589 WARNER Alb. Eng. VI. xxxiii. (1612) 162 Then beleeue I loue it more Than that for other law than Life to Supersead my Clame. 1661 GLANVILL Van. Dogm. 250 But I shall supersede this endless attempt. 1687 in Picton L'pool Munic. Rec. (1883) I. 256 Wee doe hereby direct you..to supersead and forbeare all prosecution. 1709 HEARNE Collect. (O.H.S.) II. 165 His warrant for superseding the Execution. 1721 Col. Rec. Pennsylv. III. 142 [That] the new road now complained of by the Petitioners be for the present Superseded. 1750 CARTE Hist. Eng. II. 361 The king..superseded all his other preparations for the invasion of Scotland.

b. intr. To desist, forbear, refrain. Const. from the action, or inf. Obs.

a1578 LINDESAY (Pitscottie) Chron. Scot. (S.T.S.) I. 88 The king tuik werie heavie witht this heigh contempt bot superceidit for the tyme. 1596 DALRYMPLE tr. Leslie's Hist. Scot. I. 127 Of vthiris Magistratis to make mentione,..I superseid and pas ouir. 1624 BP. R. MONTAGU in Cosin's Corr. (Surtees) I. 24. I have sent for my papers from my Lord Keper, and have them: therefore let your Lord supersede from asking. 1644 [ H. PARKER ] Jus Populi 19, I shall have occasion to be more large hereafter upon this, and therefore I now supersede. 1706 T. LINING in A. Shields Church-Communion A4, Lest I should darken counsel by Words without Knowledge, I shall supersede. 1850 F. W. NEWMAN Phases of Faith 177, I therefore quite supersede to name the many other difficulties in detail.

c. trans. To cause to forbear, to restrain. Obs.

1675 V. ALSOP Anti-Sozzo Pref., I was superseded a while by a more weighty Consideration.

3. To refrain from (discourse, disquisition); to omit to mention, refrain from mentioning. Obs.

1586 WARNER Alb. Eng. III. xviii. 74 Ye Mars-stard Pichtes..Ye Dardan Brutes,..I superseade the rest: Ye come to fight. 1607 TOPSELL Four-f. Beasts 230, I superseed any further discourse heereof, till we come to the declaration of the greater beast. 1671 R. BOHUN Wind 35, I supersede many remarks from our Sea voyages;..and shall instance only two. 1675 V. ALSOP Anti-Sozzo i. 27 Of which supposed Order..I shall supersede any further Disquisition at present. 1689 T. PLUNKET Char. Gd. Commander, etc. Ded. 93 One thing..I cannot supersede,..And that is,..Here to record what should be known to all.

4. To put a stop to (legal proceedings, etc.); to stop, stay. (Cf. SUPERSEDEAS .) Obs.

a1662 HEYLIN Laud (1668) 111 Inhibiting all Processes, and Superseding all proceedings against Recusants. 1812 Examiner 25 May 324/2 Bankruptcy Superseded. J. Boone, Piccadilly, haberdasher. 1838 W. BELL Dict. Law Scot., Supersedere, is..a private agreement amongst creditors..that they will supersede or sist diligence, for a certain period.

b. Law. To discharge by a writ of supersedeas.

1817 W. TIDD Pract. Crts. King's B. & Com. Pleas (ed. 6) I. xiv. 371 If the defendant be superseded, or supersedeable, for want of proceedings before judgment, the plaintiff may nevertheless take or charge him in execution, at any time after judgment. 1831-2 [see SUPERSEDABLE ].

5. To render superfluous or unnecessary; to preclude the necessity of. Obs.

1663 R. Loveday's Lett. To Rdr., This ingenuous Author, whose blamelesse repute, and fair deportment..superseded all censure. 1673 Lady's Call. II. iii. §1 Widowhood, which tho it supersedes those duties which were terminated merely in the person of the husband, yet it endears those which may be paid to his ashes. 1684 RAY Let. to H. Sloane 11 Feb., It is not my intention to supersede the use of any approved botanic authors. a1699 STILLINGFL. Serm. John iv. 24 Wks. 1710 I. 609 The Gospel doth not supersede any Reasonable Duties of Divine Worship. 1729 BUTLER Serm. Pref., Wks. 1874 II. 21 Resentment cannot supersede the obligation to universal benevolence. 1797 BURKE Regic. Peace iii. Wks. 1808 VIII. 289 The mortal animosity of the regicide enemy supersedes all other panegyrick.

b. With dat. of the person: To spare a person (trouble). Hence, to relieve (a person) from a task. Obs.

1657 SANDERSON Serm. Pref. §5 Much of which having..received its answer beforehand..might supersede me the labour of adding any more now. 1660 STILLINGFL. Iren. II. v. §1 (1662) 200 Three might have been superceded from our former labour, but that [etc.].

6. To make of no effect; to render void, nugatory, or useless; to annul; to override. ?Obs.

1654 GAYTON Pleas. Notes III. viii. 117 A superannuate Creature, who (notwithstanding that her yeares did supercede her vocation) prudently shifted her Trade into that of a Matron. a1676 HALE Prim. Orig. Man. I. ii. (1677) 60 The contrary command of the Will supersedes the command of the Appetite; the Appetite desires it, but the Hand is forbidden by the Will to reach it. 1790 BURKE Rev. France 312 The municipalities supersede the orders of the assembly, and the seamen in their turn supersede the orders of the municipalities. 1791 COWPER Iliad XV. 128 How vain..the hope to supersede His purpose. 1817 JAS. MILL Brit. India IV. ix. II. 287 A power of superseding the operations and suspending the authority of the Presidents and Councils. 1844 H. H. WILSON Brit. India I. vii. I. 417 When in this capacity he superseded all other rights. 1863 D. WILSON Preh. Ann. III. vi. (ed. 2) II. 160 The Norman invader superseded Anglo-Saxon institutions.

b. spec. To dissolve by writ of supersedeas.

1702 Lond. Gaz. No. 3860/4 The said Commission is superceded under the Great Seal of England.

7. pass. To be set aside as useless or obsolete; to be replaced by something which is regarded as superior.

1642 J. M[ARSH] Argt. conc. Militia 16 Our judgement is bound up in, and superseded by theirs [sc. the parliament's]. 1678 BUTLER Hud. III. i. 964 To that alone the Bridegroom's wedded, The Bride a Flam that's superseded. 1697 C. LESLIE Snake in Grass (ed. 2) 205 This whole Chapter of Burrough's Trumpet..was stifled and superseded by these same Prophets, in the New Edition of Burrough's Works, 1672. 1788 PRIESTLEY Lect. Hist. IV. xviii. 155 In this method, the process of the mind, of reducing intervals of time to lines is superseded, and done in a more accurate manner. 1807 G. CHALMERS Caledonia I. II. i. 233 This Celtic race was superceded by invading Goths. 1838 ARNOLD Hist. Rome I. Pref. p. vi, When this work must be superseded by a more perfect history. 1878 C. STANFORD Symb. Christ i. 24 From the necessity of its present perfection it can never be superseded by an arrangement more complete. 1884 F. TEMPLE Relat. Relig. & Sci. i. 8 The examination of this fact led to the old rule being superseded.

8. To take the place of (something set aside or abandoned); to succeed to the place occupied by; to serve, be adopted or accepted instead of.

1660 PEPYS Diary 3 July, The Officers and Commissioners of the Navy we met..and agreed upon orders for the Council to supersede the old ones. 1766 BLACKSTONE Comm. II. xxiii. 376 The statute of Elizabeth..supersedes and repeals all former statutes. 1835 MISS MITFORD in L'Estrange Life (1870) III. iii. 34 [The Athenæum] is the fashionable paper now, having superseded the ‘Literary Gazette’. 1857 RUSKIN Pol. Econ. Art ii. (1868) 96 The work of living men not superseding, but building itself upon the work of the past. 1861 BROUGHAM Brit. Const. x. 138 The services of the crown vassals superseded salary in the civil as well as pay in the military department. 1866 ROGERS Agric. & Prices I. xxi. 530 Oxen were superseding horses in farm-work. 1874 GREEN Short Hist. vii. §5. 388 Carpets superseded the filthy flooring of rushes. 1913 Act 3 & 4 Geo. V, c. 20 §54 In no case shall oaths of verity or credulity supersede production of legal evidence.

9. To supply the place of (a person deprived of or removed from an office or position) by another; also to set aside or ignore in promotion, promote another over the head of; pass. to be removed from office to make way for another.

1710 SWIFT Let. to Dr. Sterne 26 Sept., He is not yet removed, because they say it will be requisite to supersede him by a successor, which the queen has not fixed on. 1760 Caut. & Adv. Off. Army 149 His Majesty..superseded the Ensign, and gave his Commission to another. 1851 HUSSEY Papal Power ii. 62 Hilary..deposed one [bishop], and superseded another who was sick..by ordaining one in his place. 1868 E. EDWARDS Ralegh I. xviii. 362 Whilst he was yet on his journey..he had been already superseded in his office. 1870 Pall Mall Gaz. 23 Sept. 11/2 The lady superintendent has been ‘superseded’ on account of her inability to account for certain sums of money.

b. To supply the place of (a thing).

1861 PALEY Æschylus (ed. 2) Pers. 841 note, The genuine has certainly been superseded. 1873 SYMONDS Grk. Poets xi. 344 To expurgate the Greek Anthology of Cephalas from impurities and to supersede it by what he considered a more edifying text.

10. Of a person: To take the place of (some one removed from an office or promoted); to succeed and supplant (a person) in a position of any kind.

1777 ROBERTSON Hist. Amer. II. (1783) I. 191 Francis de Bovadilla..was appointed..to supersede him, and assume the government of the island. 1799 NELSON 25 Mar. in Nicolas Disp. (1845) III. 306 Captain Maling takes his passage to supersede Captain Nisbet in the Bonne Citoyenne. 1828 SIR W. NAPIER Penins. War II. iii. (1878) I. 71 Sir Charles Cotton, after superseding Sir Sidney Smith, had blockaded the mouth of the Tagus. 1848 DICKENS Dombey lviii, This was the very Mrs. Wickam who had superseded Mrs. Richards as the nurse of little Paul. 1878 LECKY Eng. in 18th Cent. I. i. 150 His brilliant and impetuous colleague was in both quarters rapidly superseding him.

Hence superseded ppl. a.

a1831 A. KNOX Rem. (1844) I. 86 Superstitionsuch as the Jews retained for their superseded law. 1883 Century Mag. Sept. 645 The superseded constable's prosecution for ‘railing’ at the marshal who supplanted him! 1906 PETRIE Relig. Anc. Egypt vii. 56 [Seb] was the ‘prince of the gods’,..the superseded Saturn of Egyptian theology.


Dinner with fmrflyboy again tonight, before he leaves in the morning.

Feeling: working working
Listening to: A chorus of deploying machines

Chorus of 20 demons || Preach it
assfingers From: assfingers Date: August 25th, 2004 12:55 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
The values of a small sample size, of course, are quite limited.. but I do find it interesting that, so far, the poll indicates unanimous use of the erroneous version of the word.

What's more, those polled include those with graduate (and post-graduate, I think) degrees in English or related fields.

Very interesting info from the OED, too. Thanks for enlightening us.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: August 25th, 2004 01:05 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
Yet we see both being used hundreds of years back, so it's not like one came out of nowhere and destroyed the other, as I initially had feared.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: August 25th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

The etymology itself!

Whoops, I forgot the most important piece of information yet:

[a. OF. superceder, later -seder, ad. L. supersed{emac}re (in med.L. often -cedere) to sit above, be superior to, refrain from, omit, in med.L. to succeed to an estate, f. super- SUPER- I, II + sed{emac}re to SIT. Cf. It. soprassedere, Sp. sobreseer.]
metallian From: metallian Date: August 25th, 2004 01:16 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: The etymology itself!

Check these out. It seems like the Latin root favors "sedere," but English got picked it up from Old French, which originally used "ceder." So I guess France is to blame?


We got the word supersede/supercede from the Latin supersedere, by way of the Old French superceder (later superseder), so etymology offers arguments in favor of each spelling. Supersede is the overwhelming preference of Edited English, although supercede does occur in print. If one regulation replaces another, the new one supersedes the old one; if you excel or outstrip others, you surpass them. See also -CEDE.


This word, meaning to replace, originally meant “to sit higher” than, from Latin sedere, “to sit.” In the 18th century, rich people were often carried about as they sat in sedan chairs. Don’t be misled by the fact that this word rhymes with words having quite different roots, such as intercede.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: August 25th, 2004 01:23 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Blame France?

They speak French in Canada. So I blame graye.
assfingers From: assfingers Date: August 25th, 2004 01:33 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: Blame France?

Odd that he is one of two that voted 'supersede'

He's probably running a counter-intelligence campaign.

Knowing him, it might just as easily be a no-intelligence campaign.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: August 25th, 2004 01:38 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

See, it all adds up!

First the ninjas with their truck attack, now the destruction of our language.
graye From: graye Date: August 25th, 2004 02:03 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: See, it all adds up!

I prefer to think of it as "progressive remediation"
kingfox From: kingfox Date: August 25th, 2004 02:20 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
I have polled tons of people today at work and on the phone. One brilliant professor, assistant university vice president, and math god spells it your way. My roomie petemagyar spells it your way. Everyone else asked uses the C.
graye From: graye Date: August 25th, 2004 02:23 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
Those poor plebians, using the spelling of the unwashed masses
From: graye Date: August 25th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: Blame France?

I voted supersede because for some reason, that's what seemed right and it's how I think I spelled it.

I suppose I'd have to comb my writings of the past to be sure. But when faced with the question, "supersede" was correct and I can't recall thinking otherwise.

Hopefully, I don't have a memory that remembers habits in my favor.

The otehr thing is that aside from typos (i.e. errors of sloth), I almost never misspell things.
graye From: graye Date: August 25th, 2004 01:59 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: Blame France?

I'll take that hit.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: August 25th, 2004 02:23 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
It was supercede long ago, then it became supersede, as the Latin roots also changed.

It has become quite a debate at my workplace. We have someone going off about Francophones, the Berlin olympics, and the pointlessness of classics studies. Another person's debating about the evolution of Latin over the years.
assfingers From: assfingers Date: August 25th, 2004 02:28 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
amazing. maybe I'll get to be on the News.
graye From: graye Date: August 25th, 2004 02:50 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
The pointlessness of classics studies?

What kind of savages do you work with?!
kingfox From: kingfox Date: August 25th, 2004 03:13 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
Someone who argues that the mindset behind making classics studies so important is the same mindset that would have prevented us from getting to the moon, among other things. Comparisons were also drawn to another group of people who were obsessed with emulating the glorious past, and Goodwin's law was invoked pretty early on.
graye From: graye Date: August 25th, 2004 03:25 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
I always counter Goodwin's law w/ Freiler's Maxim:

Freiler's Maxim:
Those that incorrectly invoke Godwin as proof that they have won the debate have in fact run out of relevant points to make, and have, by invoking Godwin, admitted defeat.
periol From: periol Date: August 25th, 2004 06:57 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: The etymology itself!

the old French came from medieval Latin, which had a tendency to confuse itself. supercedere apparently showed up in medieval Latin, and was transferred intact into old French.
metallian From: metallian Date: August 25th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
What the hell? I'm pretty sure I've only ever seen supercede. How did that happen?
kingfox From: kingfox Date: August 25th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
We're all confused too. WTF?
Chorus of 20 demons || Preach it