tr.v. re·placed, re·plac·ing, re·plac·es
a. To put back into a former position or place: replaced the sofa after vacuuming.
b. To restore or return: replaced the money he had stolen.
2. To take the place of: Jets have largely replaced propeller planes. Nurse practitioners are replacing doctors in some clinics.
3. To fill the place of; provide a substitute for: replaced the team's coach; replaced the wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. See Usage Note at substitute.
Synonyms: replace, supersede, supplant
These verbs mean to put someone or something in the place of another. To replace is to be or to furnish an equivalent or substitute, especially for one that has been lost, depleted, worn out, or discharged: "We can learn to replace turbulent passions with peaceful emotions" (Margaret Visser).
To supersede is to replace one person or thing by another held to be more valuable or useful, or less antiquated: "In our island the Latin appears never to have superseded the old Gaelic speech" (Thomas Macaulay).
Supplant often suggests the use of intrigue or underhanded tactics to take another's place: "The rivaling poor Jones, and supplanting him in her affections, added another spur to his pursuit" (Henry Fielding).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.