From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From Old French succeder, from Latin succedere (to go under, go from under, come under, approach, follow, take the place of, receive by succession, prosper, be successful).


  • IPA(key): /səkˈsiːd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːd
  • Hyphenation: suc‧ceed


succeed (third-person singular simple present succeeds, present participle succeeding, simple past and past participle succeeded)

  1. (transitive) To follow something in sequence or time.
    Autumn succeeds summer.
  2. (transitive) To replace or supplant someone in order vis-à-vis an office, position, or title.
    The king's eldest son succeeds his father on the throne.
    After a contentious election, Jones succeeded Smith as president of the republic.
    Synonym: take the place of
  3. (intransitive) To come after or follow; to be subsequent or consequent; (often with to).
  4. (intransitive) To come in the place of another person, thing, or event; to come next in the usual, natural, or prescribed course of things; to follow; hence, to come next in the possession of anything; (often with to).
    Following the death of his mother, he succeeded to the throne.
    So, if the issue of the elder son succeed before the younger, the crown (or: property) falls to me.
    • 1924, Faculty of Advocates (Scotland), An Analytical Digest of Cases Decided in the Supreme Courts of Scotland, And, on Appeal, in the House of Lords, 1868 to 1922, page 159:
      An heir in possession of an entailed estate succeeded to another estate under an entail which required him to denude of one of them. Held that before making his election he could not make up a title to or disentail the second estate.
    1. (intransitive) To ascend the throne after the removal or death of the occupant.
      Princess Buttercup succeeded to the throne as queen after King Willoughby died.
      • 2011, The Honorable Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of England, Jazzybee Verlag, →ISBN, page 242:
        If he succeeded in February, 670, this would be his sixteenth year.
  5. (intransitive) To prevail in obtaining an intended objective or accomplishment; to prosper as a result or conclusion of a particular effort.
    The persecution of any righteous practice has never succeeded in the face of history; in fact, it can expedite the collapse of the persecutory regime.
    She succeeded in her efforts to repair the tank.
    • 1946 July and August, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practice and Performance”, in Railway Magazine, page 213:
      The admirable smoothness of the riding also reflected the greatest credit on those who, despite the difficulties caused by the shortage of men and materials, have succeeded in maintaining the track in such first-class order.
    • 2015 December 22, Amy E. Stich, Carrie Freie, The Working Classes and Higher Education: Inequality of Access, Opportunity and Outcome, Routledge, →ISBN:
      Risk here refers to the fact that working-class families are less likely to have members who have already attended and succeeded at university, which means that university is perceived as a more uncertain and thus risky proposition.
  6. (intransitive) To prosper or attain success and beneficial results in general.
    voted most likely to succeed
    • 1955, Soil Survey, page 35:
      Legumes thrive better on this soil than on any of those derived entirely from acid materials. Applications of lime benefit clover [] Even with artificial drainage, alfalfa will not succeed, as roots cannot penetrate deep enough.
  7. (intransitive, dated) To turn out, fare, do (well or ill).
    • 1906, James George Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, volume 2, page 141:
      In some parts of Germany it is commonly believed that whatever is undertaken when the moon is on the increase succeeds well [...] whereas business undertaken in the wane of the moon is doomed to failure.
    • 1911, Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, Nursing in Diseases of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat, page 74:
      An excellent hospital nurse may succeed poorly in private work, for the executive ability that means so much in the hospital counts for little in caring for a single patient.
  8. (transitive) To support; to prosper; to promote or give success to.
    • 1697, Virgil, “(please specify the book number)”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC:
      Succeed my wish and second my design.
    • 1666, Edward Stillingfleet, A Sermon preached before the honourable House of Commons ... October 10 ... third edition, page 31:
      [] and his Royal Highness, who by their presence and incouragement inspired a new life and vigour into the sinking spirits of the Citizens, whereby God was pleased so far to succeed their endeavours, that a stop was put to the fury []
  9. (intransitive) To descend, as an estate or an heirloom, in the same family; to devolve; (often with to).
    • 2020 September 1, David P. Barash, Threats: Intimidation and Its Discontents, Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 194:
      A paterfamilias could arrange a marriage or emancipate a child without its mother's consent, and if the mother died intestate (possibly because her tutor refused to approve her will) her estate succeeded to her siblings, not to her husband or children,  []
  10. (transitive, obsolete, rare) To fall heir to; to inherit.
    • c. 1603, William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure:
      Else let my brother die, / If not a feodary, but only he / Owe and succeed thy weakness.
    • 2019, D. Chandra Bose, Business Law, second edition, PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd., →ISBN, page 314:
      (iv) By Transmission of Shares: A person may become a member by registration if he succeeds the estate of a deceased member.
  11. (intransitive, obsolete, rare) To go down or near (with to).
    • 1679, Edmund Spenser, The Works of that Famous English Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser: Viz : The Faery Queen, [...], page 293:
      Who, ever as he saw him nigh succeed, / Gan cry aloud with horrible affright,  []
    • 1697, Virgil, translated by John Dryden, The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC:
      Or will you to the cooler cave succeed, / Whose mouth the curling vines have overspread? [] [] And snakes, familiar, to the hearth succeed, / Disclose their eggs, and near the chimney breed— [] To his rough palate his dry tongue succeeds;



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.