For example, by improving some system, some function is now redundant. So the improvement XXX that function.


7 Answers 7


If you aren't replacing the old function by a new one (i.e., a function is no longer required) then you may prefer obviate, as in "this feature obviates the need to call XXX" or "new procedures obviate the need for a dedicated XXX department."

Or obsolete may be used as a verb, like "this feature obsoletes the XXX function" – although I'd definitely avoid calling a person obsolete.

But if you can say "XXX is now called automatically when needed," I'd go with that.

  • 3
    obviate the need for is more common as a "set phrase" than remove the need for, but I don't really see the point it. The relatively obscure word obviate would probably be almost unknown if it weren't forever obviating needs - you don't often find it obviating anything else. I think it's just a somewhat pompous cliched alternative to "remove". Dec 19, 2011 at 0:50
  • Well, there is some debate over it, but obviate may be used without the need for part.
    – Chel
    Dec 19, 2011 at 1:11
  • When not followed by "need", obviate usually has a somewhat different meaning - akin to anihilates or denies the possibility of, rather than removes the need for. And to be honest, I find that usage somewhat archaic. Dec 19, 2011 at 1:30
  • 1
    @fumble do you have a citation or reference for the statement that "obviate when not followed by 'the need for' usually means annihilate or denies the possibility of"? Dec 19, 2011 at 12:03
  • @Jeff Atwood: No citation, I'm afraid. But apart from the fact that I already thought it, that seemed to be the sense of the first half-dozen Google Books entries I looked at for obviates that weren't followed by "the need/necessity/etc." Dec 19, 2011 at 14:14

I would say that the new supersedes the old.

  • Subsume also works here, but I don't think that is the question being asked.
    – dave
    Dec 18, 2011 at 19:27

In British English, the construction "make redundant" is itself a common one.

For example, someone laid off in a company restructuring might say "I've been made redundant."

And the American English equivalent when persons are the object is downsized.

e.g. "When Acme, Inc. closed its Spartanburg factory, some 50,000 local workers were downsized".

  • I have never understood the usage "made redundant". If there are two people in one role (such as when a merger happens - you don't need 2 Vice Presidents) then it is actually preventing redundancy to let one person go. Also, as a computer programmer, I wanted "redundancy" in the sense that someone else could do my job when I was on vacation. Redundancy prevents critical failures. It is not the word to blame on losing your job! Redundancy is a Good Thing. A British friend does not understand the usage "let go", he thinks it sounds like I wanted to leave the job and they allowed me to!
    – user126158
    Oct 12, 2015 at 16:01

Deprecate in computer science is defined as:

declare obsolescence of something: to state that a computational method or computer feature is superseded. - Microsoft® Encarta® 2009

Because one of the meanings of obviate is "to make unnecessary," it is sometimes argued that obviate the need (or necessity) for is redundant. An older but still current meaning, however, is "to avoid an anticipated difficulty." In a sentence like Addressing these issues early can obviate any need for a joint resolution, the need can be perceived as a difficulty - or early consideration can make the resolution unnecessary, in which case any need for is indeed redundant. There is little reason to prefer either interpretation to the other, except that substitution of to make unnecessary allows much the same thought to be expressed with fewer words. same source.

  • Does something deprecate some other thing in the sense of superseding or obviating?
    – Kris
    Dec 19, 2011 at 9:36
  • @Kris It tends to be used as "Old feature A has been deprecated by new feature B."
    – IQAndreas
    Apr 21, 2014 at 6:04
  • @IQAndreas en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deprecation
    – Kris
    Apr 21, 2014 at 9:20

If you are talking about a direct, one-for-one replacement of the old by the new, why not simply use replace? Supercede, as Barrie suggested, also works in this sense.

If, on the other hand, it it just a side effect that the old function is not needed any more, then I would vote with @rdhs on obviate.


We wanted to redundify our network so we added another firewall in HA mode.

redundify in Urban Dicationary:


If OP is looking for a single word, I don't know one in common parlance. Increasingly, we say removes the need for XXX...

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