What is the word for something/somebody very popular giving its/his/her place/popularity to something/somebody new and more popular? For instance,

In 1990s CDs were the most popular source of music while in 2010s they ..... digital audios.

Is the word to step back OK for this context?

  • Were surpassed by? Were superceded by? Took a back seat to? Abdicated the(ir) throne to? – Dan Bron Jul 21 '16 at 13:32
  • I know surpass and abdicate the throne (I need more official or formal word, so haven't used it.). I will check to SUPERSEDE now. Is it the correct spelling? – Turkan Alisoy Jul 21 '16 at 13:37
  • Yes, you can spell it that way too. My spelling (with a c where you have the second s) is an older variant. I also think abdicated is about as formal as you can get. I think you'd be better understood if you used "took a back seat to", but supecede (or supersede) is a good middle ground between super-formal and super-understandable. – Dan Bron Jul 21 '16 at 13:39
  • Yes, Supersede is what I need. If you write it as an answer, I will mark it as accepted answer and I think it will be helpful for others. – Turkan Alisoy Jul 21 '16 at 13:41
  • As you like. Gimme a minute. – Dan Bron Jul 21 '16 at 13:41

If you want to use the word "back", as in your "step back", in the current form you have the sentence:

In the 1990s CDs were the most popular format for music, while in 2010s they ..... digital recordings.

You could say took a back seat to. But you also say you'd like something in a slightly higher register, something more formal or official.

In that case, you can consider:

In the 1990s CDs were the most popular format for music, while in 2010s they were superceded by digital recordings.

You may also use surpassed in place of superceded, but while the former suggests digital recordings became more popular, it lacks the sense of complete displacement, or obsolescence, of the latter.

Or, if you want to get even "fancier":

In the 1990s CDs were the most popular format for music, while in 2010s they abdicated their throne to digital recordings.

Note that this word or phrasing is much less likely to be understood by the man in the street, but it does add some personality to the language. It sounds like something a journalist would add to a human interest article, or something that would appear in a magazine like the New Yorker or The Atlantic.

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