August 11, 2022

Usurp / verb / u·surp

Usurp is a verb we use in English that represents the act of taking official powers or duties by force or overthrowing them without having the right to do so.

People use the words supplant and usurp interchangeably since both have a similar meaning. Both allude to taking wrongful possession of an official right, office, responsibility, or designated power without a valid legal claim or by force.

We frown upon social climbing, power theft, and people who try to usurp authorities, elected officials, and leaders in our society. It is not a good idea to usurp the powers that be without having a valid legal claim or right to do so.

In a Sentence

The crafty politician made plans to usurp his opponent and install himself as the next governor.

The queen was concerned that her son would try to usurp her powers and claim the throne for his wife when she overheard his conversation with the maid.

The wealthy financiers made secret plans to usurp their competition by driving up their costs and then buying out their entire company.

Etymology

We started using usurp in English as a derivative of Middle English, Anglo-French and Latin words that represent the act of initiating or successfully completing a powerful takeover without right or a valid legal claim. Usurp showed up in the 14th century. Its definition has not changed since we first included it in our language.

Synonym

Commandeer, Pirate

Antonym

Offer, Surrender

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