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Next in a series of write-ups exploring several of the ‘roots’ and also ‘routes’ of English vocabulary.

You are watching: What does the root word cede mean

English has many related native containing the root cede, ceed, cess and also cease, acquired from the Latin verb cēdere (go, go away, withdraw, yield) and its past participle cessus. Cede and cease exist as independent words, yet this team of root flourishes specifically in combination with prefixes. As is usual because that words through Latin origins, some of these combinations have actually followed more easily traceable courses than others in their progress towards contemporary English.


Among the most transparent space the combinations v pre- (before): the verb precede, the noun precedent and also precedence, and also the adjective preceding.

Ceed /cess to add pro- (forward) gives us the verbs proceed and also process and also the noun proceeds, proceedings, procedure, process, processor and procession. Procession maintain the definition of physical motion forwards, when process and also procedure, because that example, save the feeling of a succession of occasions advancing during a period of time.

Similarly, re- (back) gives the verb recede, the noun / verb recess, the biological adjective recessive and, most familiarly, the noun recession, a time when the economic situation slips backwards instead of striding forwards.

The prefix ex- in exceed, exceedingly, excess and also excessive means out and, through extension, beyond, and these indigenous all have actually meanings associated with walking beyond what is expected, necessary, acceptable, etc.

The adjective deceased is a formal alternate to dead, and the noun the deceased method a dead person or dead people. Here, de- way away, therefore someone who is deceased has gone away. If you take on a brand-new official position, the human being who hosted the position before you is her predecessor (pre+de+cess+or): they have gone away before you.

An antecedent is literally other which has actually gone before (ante- = before), and also from the same beginning we likewise have ancestor, ancestry and also ancestral.

Other members that this extended word family include abscess, accede, access, accessible, accessory, cessation, incessant, concede, concession, intercede, intercession, necessary, secede, secession, succeed, success, and also succession.

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The interpretations of many of these words have actually shifted a long means from their original literal senses but, in some cases at least, recognizing the simple meanings of your roots and prefixes can be valuable in learning and remembering what they mean.

Notice that ceed / cede often show up in verbs, with cess in equivalent nouns, e.g.:

exceed – excessrecede – recessionsucceed – success, succession

Be careful with pronunciation, especially distinctions in stress and vowel qualities, e.g.:

accede (verb) /ək’si:d/access (noun / verb) /’ækses/
exceed (verb) /ɪk’si:d/excess (noun) /ɪk’ses/ excess (adjective) /’ekses/
precede (verb) /prɪ’si:d/precedent (noun) /’presɪdənt/
proceed (verb) /prə’si:d/proceeds (noun) /’prəʊsi:dz/

Next in this series: draw, drag, draft, draught