Done → Doable

Destroyed → Destructible

Consumed → Consumable

Obsolete → ???

The word "Obsoletable" is listed some ~ 34,000 times in Google; however, I can't find it in dictionaries, which makes me think people coined it looking for the same word I am trying to find.

  • 2
    I wonder whether this is relevant: the first 3 examples can be preceded by a bare "can be"; with obsolete, you can't - you need "can be made".
    – Lawrence
    Apr 11, 2016 at 8:08
  • 3
    So, it's "not future-proof"
    – NVZ
    Apr 11, 2016 at 9:55
  • 1
    "Ephemeral", "short-lived" or "temporary"?
    – pjc50
    Apr 11, 2016 at 11:14
  • 1
    @pjc50 "Ephemeral", "short-lived" and "temporary" suggest that no other possibility than obsolescence, just a question of when. Apr 11, 2016 at 11:19
  • 2
    Deprecatable? Just a thought Apr 11, 2016 at 18:09

9 Answers 9


You might consider, obsolescence-prone and obsolescent-/obsolete-prone

If you're concerned about the problems of owning or maintaining rundown, obsolescence-prone freight equipment, talk it over with U.S. Railway Equipment Company. Chances are we'll have some interesting dollar-saving suggestions.

During periods when business generally is slumping, the profit picture is helped by the fact that the real estate man need hold no large investment in buildings, equipment, or obsolete-prone products.

Adult Education Through Home Study

Also, planned (or built-in) obsolescence, as in

Planned or Built-In Obsolescence products are designed to fail within a given period of time [...]


planned obsolescence

: a method of stimulating consumer demand by designing products that wear out or become outmoded after limited use. Also called built-in obsolescence.

Random House

  • obsolete-prone seems like a very accurate match, and it's what I will be using, I will just leave the question open till tomorrow for the remote possibility that someone has a better answer. Thank you very much. Apr 11, 2016 at 10:15
  • The only problem I see with obsolete-prone is that prone holds the possibility for obsolescence favourable, I want something that holds both possibilities equal. Apr 11, 2016 at 10:31
  • 5
    Obsolescence-prone feels more natural to me than obsolete-prone (i.e. nounal rather than adjectival form).
    – atkins
    Apr 11, 2016 at 11:09
  • @MysticOdin what about obsolescence-sensitive?
    – Creynders
    Apr 11, 2016 at 11:46
  • @Graffito like I noted for many suggestions, we need a word that carries both the possibility of something becomeing obsolete and not becoming obsolete equally, "on the way to obsolescence" has a single word match which is obsolescent, the problem is that it means it will definitely become obsolete, not only the possibility. Apr 12, 2016 at 22:27


capable of being obviated

And since obviate doesn't get the recognition it deserves...


to make (something) no longer necessary : to prevent or avoid (something)

  • 3
    Obviate is a lovely word, and I quite agree that it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, but I’m not sure it fits the bill here. Obsolescing is very different from being obviated. My iPhone will obsolesce in a few years when better iPhones have come out; it would be obviated if some company developed mass-market telepathic internet/phone implants.
    – PLL
    Apr 12, 2016 at 3:43
  • 1
    And Apple would be obliviated if they didn't sell other products than iPhones
    – Lenne
    Apr 12, 2016 at 12:15

The common thread among your first three examples is that they are verbs. Things that are able to 'do' those verbs may then be suffixed with -able.

This is the same with other words like write (writeable), read (readable), eat (eatable / edible), etc.

Obsolete is not normally considered to be a verb (it's an adjective), so is modified differently (e.g. obsolescence).

The following dictionary entry mentions that obsolete may be used as a verb:

Obsolete verb [with object] chiefly US Cause (a product or idea) to become obsolete by replacing it with something new: we’re trying to stimulate the business by obsoleting last year’s designs - ODO

The form obsoletable may be used in that sense. Here's an example:

Coloring the cards only works for nonperishable and non-obsoletable items. - Manufacturing Consulting Services, Inc

As @PLL notes, obsolesce is the proper verb form of obsolete. Here's the dictionary entry

Obsolesce derived verb (derived from obsolescent: Becoming obsolete) existing systems begin to obsolesce - ODO

  • 1
    Obsolete, like you mentioned, can be used as a verb, and the point exactly is that obsoletable is not word I can find in dictionaries, though I agree that using it as a coined expression is not really that bad. Apr 11, 2016 at 11:25
  • @MysticOdin I've updated my answer with the proper verb form.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 14, 2016 at 23:38

Something that is becoming obsolete is obsolescent.


  1. becoming obsolete; passing out of use, as a word: an obsolescent term.
  2. becoming outdated or outmoded, as machinery or weapons.
  3. Biology. gradually disappearing or imperfectly developed, as vestigial organs.

So, any object that can become obselete is obsolescent to some extent.


It's not a single word, but this meaning seems to exist already as an established term in the business sector: "obsolescence risk"


Companies can be discussed in terms of their obsolescence risk or "obsolescence factor".

I think that the reason there isn't a word for "potentially obsolete" is that it applies to everything: nothing is immune from becoming obsolete. So, while there are lots of things that are very hard to destroy, hard to consume or hard to do, so we need both words for each of those cases (indestructable/fragile, edible/inedible, possible/impossible), i think there is an implicit assumption that everything is potentially obsolete and so we don't really need a special word for it. Which isn't to say there shouldn't be one.

So it might be that you're actually looking for a word to describe something with a high obsolescence risk/factor, ie that is relatively likely to become obsolete more quickly. I have a feeling that there is a word or term for this: perhaps "not futureproofed"?

  • 2
    risk or factor imply that something needs to be done about the fact, not futureproofed is, like you said, "relatively likely to become obsolete more quickly". I see your point about "potentially obsolete", for example words like "agreeable" and "likable" do not mean that it carries the potential to be agreed or liked, they mean "to one's liking", probably for the same reason you mentioned that nothing is immune to being agreed, liked, disliked, or disagreed, however; I do not think "obsolete" is the same, for example nothing can make Van Gogh's art obsolete but you can like it or dislike it. Apr 11, 2016 at 11:09
  • 1
    @MysticOdin you're right, actually, there's plenty of things which are immune to being obsolete. So, I suppose that's not the reason this word doesn't exist... Apr 11, 2016 at 11:13

How about supersedable?

Wiktionary: 'Capable of being superseded' - "This document is temporary and supersedable"


You could possibly use obsolescence, depending on your context.

From vocabulary.com:

The word obsolescence is the noun form of the more common obsolete, meaning "something no longer used." Both words stem from the Latin obsolēscere, which means, logically enough, "to fall into disuse."

An example of it's usage would be, "The Harley Davidson was designed to go out of fashion rapidly - it was an example of planned obsolescence"

  • 3
    I think obsolescence is the process of becoming obsolete, but it's not the state that it has now which i think is what the question is after. Apr 11, 2016 at 8:35
  • I think you're right, however in the context of the original question, couldn't you use Obsolete for the future tense as well as the present? Apr 11, 2016 at 8:38
  • 1
    @AaronLavers Using obsolescence will change the structure of the sentence, so instead of "this feature is obsolete-prone" I would use "the obsolescence of this feature is possible", so there is definitely a way to rephrase the sentence to carry out the same meaning, but the aim of the question is exactly not to do that. "Obsolete" can be used for the future of course, however the word I am looking for should mean that it "can be obsolete" and equally "can be not obsolete", i.e. to signify the possibility without preference to whether it will happen. Apr 11, 2016 at 10:28

There has been a lot of answers and discussions within the comments, for the sake of benefiting the StackExchange reading public, so that they do not miss this useful information, also so that they do explore threads already concluded, I am going to post this answer as a summary of these discussions and their conclusions.

  1. There is no perfect answer (so far), to carry the meaning perfectly the sentence needs to be rephrased using obsolescence and possible.
  2. The closest answer to the word in question, which is the answer I am selecting as correct, is Elian's Answer, obsolescence-prone, thanks to atkins for suggesting the improvement from the original obsolete-prone, this is not a perfect answer because prone suggest probability not simple possibility.
  3. Max Willams' Answer suggested obsolescence risk/factor, the problem is that risk and factor suggest that something needs to be done about the fact, not future-proofed suggests, even more strongly than obsolescence-prone, that it is likely to become obsolete.
  4. In the same answer Mr. Willams suggested that may be this is because nothing is immune from being obsolete, we then agreed that for a thing to become obsolete it has to be something (e.g. a tool) that can be replaced by something that is objectively better, and that Art for example is immune to be obsolete because it cannot be judged to be objectively better, for example we cannot burn Van Gogh's painting on the premise that they are obsoleted by another painter's paintings.
  5. Lawrence's Answer suggested that this may be because "obsolete" is not a verb, however; "obsolete" indeed is a verb, the basic difference between the example Do → Done → Doable is that the adjective is the past-participle of the verb, but we did not reach a conclusion there.
  6. Michael Fredrickson's Answer suggests the word obviable, which is excellent in carrying the possibility without favouring it actually happening, however; "Obviate" is different in meaning than "Obsolete", an obsolete object is an object that has been replaced by a better object to fulfill the same task, an obviated object is an object that is no longer being used because the task it fulfilled is itself obsolete, check out PLL's comment for an excellent example.
  7. Using Obsoletable as a coined expression is not that bad IMHO, however; it defeats the purpose of the question, which is to have a word that is present in the English language to carry out that meaning.
  8. Several people suggested obsolescent, obsolescent means becoming obsolete, not simply noting the possibility that it may or may not happen, it means it will be obsolete, just a question of when, that is why obsolescent, and many other suggestions for that matter, are not seen as a correct match.
  • You've asked for a single word answer in your question, then ignored the single word answer that is closest in meaning from your round up. Do you have a particular problem with obsolecent?
    – Jodrell
    Apr 14, 2016 at 10:44
  • @Jodrell obsolescence and obsolescent mean it is becoming obsolete, not possibly, definitely, it was suggested, but you are correct that I did not put it in my round up, I will correct this mistake. Apr 14, 2016 at 11:21
  • Anything that can be obsolete will, given enough time, become so. I think that obsolescent is so often misused interchangeably with obsolete, or to indicate short term obsolescence the implicit non-determinism over time is overlooked. If you consider, we don't really need a word that means "might become obsolete but not soon," What would it apply too, bar most everything?
    – Jodrell
    Apr 14, 2016 at 11:53
  • Something that is edible for example will not necessarily be eaten given enough time. As for not needing a word because it applies to everything, i.e. nothing is immune from being obsolete; the same argument was made by Max Williams, and this I included in the summary, we agreed that a lot of things are immune to being obsolete like Art, you will not replace art with something objectively better. Apr 14, 2016 at 14:32
  • Another real life example, car parts, I can say that a car part is "obsolete-able", i.e. it may or may not happen that you, or the manufacturer, opt for a better part for the same car, the possibility here is to indicate that the car is designed in a way to allow that to happen, not in a way that this part has to be exactly identical to be replaced, which is actually the typical case. Apr 14, 2016 at 14:34

I'd most likely use this in the vein of being potentially or permissibly obsolete, e.g. a code library that is likely to be deprecated. In other words, one can assume it's okay to retire or ignore this item. I wish obsoletable was already a word and suggest using it so that it does become officially adopted by major dictionaries.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.