Secede vs. succeed

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The verb succeed means (1) to come after and take the place of, or (2) to accomplish something desired or intended. Secede means to withdraw formally from membership in an organization. The two are occasionally confused.

If it helps, think of succeed as a synonym of follow and secede as a synonym of withdrawal. Neither correspondence is exact, but they’re close enough to aid memory. Also, although the words are close in sound, it helps to remember that their pronunciations are different. Secede lacks the hard k sound at the end of succeed‘s first syllable.



And even if it could have seceded peacefully, the South might have gone to war anyway when the perfidious Yankees refused to return escaped slaves. [Denver Post]

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Belgrade has vowed to never recognise its secession. [Scotsman]


He said in his letter released Saturday that Berkshire’s board had chosen someone to succeed him as CEO someday.  [Washington Post]

In the communist world’s first hereditary succession, Kim Jong-il took over the impoverished country of 23 million.  []

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