Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: supersede (2)

Today: The Corresponding Noun. “Supersession” is the noun form of “supersede,” meaning either “the act of superseding” or “the state of being superseded.” E.g.: “School Board 12 is the sixth community school board that has had part of its operations superseded by Mr. Fernandez and his aides. Supersession is a more lenient step than suspension.” Joseph Berger, “School District Stripped of Fiscal Power,” N.Y. Times, 7 Dec. 1991, at 27. As with the verb, the internal -s- is sometimes incorrectly made -c-. “Supersedure,” a needless variant in all contexts but beekeeping, occasionally appears where it doesn’t belong — e.g.: “Sharpton said Pataki’s dramatic supersedure [read ‘supersession’] of Johnson violated a provision of the Voting Rights Act.” Dan Morrison, “Sharpton: Pataki Stole Case,” Newsday (N.Y.), 24 Mar. 1996, at A4. As for the bees, “supersedure” means “the replacement of an old, weakened queen bee by a younger, more vigorous one” — e.g.: “A deficit of queen pheromones might be the cause of queen rearing by worker honey bees during swarming and queen supersedure.” David J.C. Fletcher & Murray S. Blum, “Regulation of Queen Number by Workers in Colonies of Social Insects,” Science, 21 Jan. 1983, at 312. Next: Misused for “surpass” or “beat.” For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Dialectal speech is of the utmost importance to a proper conception of the historical development of English pronunciation, just as an examination of the existing remains of those zoological genera which descend from one geological period to another, serves to show the real development of life on our globe.” Alexander Ellis, On Early English Pronunciation with Especial Reference to Shakespeare and Chaucer, part 4, at 1090 (1869).
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