Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: French
Origin: prédécesseur, from Late Latin, from Latin decedere 'to go away, leave your job'

predecessor

noun
     
pre‧de‧ces‧sor [countable]
1 someone who had your job before you started doing it [≠ successor]:
Kennedy's predecessor as president was the war hero Dwight Eisenhower.
2 a machine, system etc that existed before another one in a process of development [≠ successor]:
The new BMW has a more powerful engine than its predecessor.

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