• WordNet 3.6
    • v usurp seize and take control without authority and possibly with force; take as one's right or possession "He assumed to himself the right to fill all positions in the town","he usurped my rights","She seized control of the throne after her husband died"
    • v usurp take the place of "gloom had usurped mirth at the party after the news of the terrorist act broke"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • v. i Usurp To commit forcible seizure of place, power, functions, or the like, without right; to commit unjust encroachments; to be, or act as, a usurper. "The parish churches on which the Presbyterians and fanatics had usurped .""And now the Spirits of the Mind
      Are busy with poor Peter Bell;
      Upon the rights of visual sense Usurping , with a prevalence
      More terrible than magic spell."
    • v. t Usurp To seize, and hold in possession, by force, or without right; as, to usurp a throne; to usurp the prerogatives of the crown; to usurp power; to usurp the right of a patron is to oust or dispossess him. Usurp is applied to seizure and use of office, functions, powers, rights, etc.; it is not applied to common dispossession of private property. "Alack, thou dost usurp authority.""Another revolution, to get rid of this illegitimate and usurped government, would of course be perfectly justifiable."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • usurp To seize and hold possession of, as of some important or dignified place, office, power, or property, by force or without right; seize, appropriate, or assume illegally or wrongfully: as, to usurp a throne; to usurp the prerogatives of the crown; to usurp power.
    • usurp To assume, in a wider sense; put on; sometimes, to counterfeit.
    • usurp To be or act as a usurper; hence, to commit illegal seizure; encroach: with on or upon.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Usurp ū-zurp′ to take possession of by force without right
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  • Lord Melbourne
    “Wealth is so much the greatest good that Fortune has to bestow that in the Latin and English languages it has usurped her name.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. usurpare, usurpatum, to make use of, enjoy, get possession of, usurp; the first part of usurpare, is akin to usus, use (see Use, n.): cf. F. usurper,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. usurpāre, perh. contr. from usu-rapĕre, to seize to one's own use—usus, use, rapĕre, to seize; or from usum rumpĕre, to break a use.


In literature:

Mere men cannot long usurp the attributes of God.
"The Eagle of the Empire" by Cyrus Townsend Brady
Priscilla had usurped the throne!
"A Jolly Fellowship" by Frank R. Stockton
The legislative powers of the two Houses were usurped by the royal Council.
"History of the English People, Volume III (of 8)" by John Richard Green
Avaunt, thou grand sycophant of the nineteenth century, thou vile usurper of the people's throne!
"Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women" by George Sumner Weaver
Mordred usurps the crown, and tries, but in vain, to induce the queen to marry him.
"Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama" by E. Cobham Brewer
On the spot which the thorns usurped, the reaper gathers only straw and chaff.
"The Parables of Our Lord" by William Arnot
The affair of Bishop Watson hath brought much odium on the usurper.
"Snarley-yow" by Frederick Marryat
In a week from now we shall have the usurper by the throat.
"In Direst Peril" by David Christie Murray
Letters (for by this usurped title epistles are now commonly known) are of several kinds.
"The Biglow Papers" by James Russell Lowell
Nothing allowed to usurp His throne for an hour!
"My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year" by John Henry Jowett

In poetry:

Nor only through the wasted plain,
Stern Winter is thy force confess'd;
Still wider spreads thy horrid reign,
I feel thy power usurp my breast.
"The Winter's Walk" by Samuel Johnson
"Oh, dreadful Past! beyond the midnight portal
Thou hast usurp'd our peace;
And if the angel Memory be immortal,
When shall this anguish cease?"
"Solemn Voices" by Thomas Buchanan Read
Now on thy stream the noonbeams look,
Usurping, as thou downward driftest,
Its crystal from the clearest brook,
Its rushing current from the swiftest.
"From The Spanish Of Pedro De Castro Y Anaya" by William Cullen Bryant
Dropping December shall come weeping in,
Bewail th' usurping of his reign;
But when in show'rs of old Greek we begin,
Shall cry he hath his crown again!
"The Grasshopper" by Richard Lovelace
Then Bruce he shouted, Victory!
We have gained our rights and liberty;
And thanks be to God above
That we have conquered King Edward this day,
A usurper that does not us love.
"The Battle of Bannockburn" by William Topaz McGonagall
These gardens, vales, and plains, and hills,
Which beauty gilds and music fills,
Were once but deserts; culture's hand
Has scatter'd verdure o'er the land,
And smiles and fragrance rule serene,
Where barren wilds usurp'd the scene.
"Blessings of Instruction" by John Bowring

In news:

The feds usurp another area of state law.
Hear Prinzhorn Dance School 's 'Usurper'.
Kings can scarcely enjoy a moment's happiness on their thrones before their lives become futile efforts at protecting their prize from real and imagined usurpers.
Usurping champions, gobbling victories, withdrawing to give others a chance to win here are the defining moments of the greatest racer ever.
Legislators routinely try to usurp the Constitution.
RIVERDALE — US Rep Rob Bishop said many of the problems facing the nation are a result of the federal government usurping the rights of the states and managing resources that should be handled at the local level.
The makers of the Hamilton watch look to protect its "strong association with Hollywood" with a lawsuit against an alleged usurper claiming a role in the recent Will Smith film.
Will crowdfunding usurp the studio biz.
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican is complaining that some bishops in China have " usurped " the Catholic Church's authority and are confusing the faithful.
The Vatican is complaining that some bishops in China have usurped the Catholic Church's authority and are confusing the faithful.
Ultrabooks to Usurp Tablets at 2012 CES.
Don't usurp Davidson voters' power.
Illegal workers usurping US jobs.
The local governments argued that the Bullitt health board has usurped legislative power held only by them, but the 2-1 majority said the state legislature had granted the board that authority in public-health matters.
Your brother, who sits on the throne, is really botching the job, and you need to usurp him.