Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: supersede (3).

Today: Misused for “surpass” or “beat.” Sportswriters have begun using “supersede” as a synonym of “beat”: thus, one team is said to “supersede” another when it wins a game. E.g.: Tim Cowlishaw, “Cowboys Superseded [read ‘Beaten’] by Redskins: Dallas Defense Overpowered in 35-16 Loss,” Dallas Morning News, 7 Sept. 1993, at B1. And other writers have misused the word for “surpass” — e.g.: “Arguably, Russia supersedes [read ‘surpasses’] even England in the publication of Shakespeare’s works and the staging of his plays.” Melor Sturua, “O.J. Through Russian Eyes,” Wall Street J., 21 Sept. 1994, at A14. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Definitions . . . are like steps cut in a steep slope of ice, or shells thrown on to a greasy pavement; they give us foothold, and enable us to advance, but when we are at our journey’s end we want them no longer.” Samuel Butler, “Thought and Language” (1890), in The Importance of Language 13 (Max Black ed., 1962).
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