The Many Cognates of “Cede”
The word cede and words with the syllable -cede share an origin with other similarly spelled words that in some sense refer to withdrawal. This post lists and defines those terms.
Cede, meaning “assign,” “grant,” or transfer, is just one of multiple words descended from the Latin verb cedere, meaning “go” or “yield.” The term cession, which refers to an act of ceding, or yielding is rare. Concession is more common in that sense; the verb form is concede, and concessional and concessionary are the uncommon adjectival forms. (“Concession stand” and the plural form of the noun describe business operations in which one party grants another party the right to sell goods on the first party’s property.)
Accede (“go to”) means “agree,” “approve,” or “consent,” with the sense of doing so reluctantly, or “take an office or position,” and the noun form is accession. To intercede (“go between”) is to intervene or mediate; the act of doing so is called intercession. Precede (“go before”) can refer to being ahead of or in front of, earlier, or more important. The noun form precedence applies to the quality of priority; another noun form, precession, is rare but is seen in “precession of the equinoxes,” a reference to an astronomical phenomenon.
To recede (“go back”) is to move away or slant backward, or to decrease (it can also mean “give something back to the former owner”); most references to the noun form recession pertain to a general decline in economic prosperity. Recedence is a rare term for the act of going back.
To secede (“go apart”) is to separate, as part of a nation from the whole; the noun form is secession.
Several other words share the root -cede, but with altered spelling, such as proceed (“go before”), which means “advance,” “come forth,” or “continue.” The noun procedure describes a set of steps, or a way, to accomplish something, and proceeding can be both a form of the verb or, in plural form, a noun describing a sequence of events. The noun proceeds refers to money brought in, and procedural serves both as an adjective and as a noun describing a work of written or recorded fiction that focuses on a sequence of procedures such as the steps taken in solving a crime.
Two other nouns derived from proceed are process, a synonym, as a verb, of proceed and, as a noun, of procedure (in addition, the noun process refers to a prominent part of an organism), and procession refers to a forward movement, especially an orderly, often ceremonial parade of people. (It can also be a verb referring to such a movement.) Processable and processability, meanwhile, refer to the capability or suitability of something to be processed.
Succeed (“go after”) means to do well (and the act of succeeding is called success), but it also pertains to inheriting from or following another person in order; this action is known as succession, and one who follows is a successor. To exceed (“go from”) is to go beyond or extend outside of or to be greater than; excess refers to the act of going beyond but has a negative connotation.
Words that don’t seem at all related but are include abscess (“go away”), which refers to pus collecting in a cavity within inflamed tissue, and ancestor (“one who goes before”), which means “one from whom one is descended”—the adjectival form is ancestral, and the noun ancestry refers to one’s forebears—and antecedent (“go before”), which means “something that precedes.” To cease (“hold back”) is to stop (and cessation refers to the act of stopping), and decease (“go from”) means “death,” though it is much more often used as a verb to mean “die.” (One who dies is a decedent.)
Predecessor (“one who goes before”) refers to someone who has preceded another person in a position; it is an antonym of successor. Necessary (“not go”), too, derives ultimately from cedere; it means “inescapable” or “required.”
Want to improve your English in 5 minutes a day? Click here to subscribe and start receiving our writing tips and exercises via email every day.
Recommended Articles for You
Subscribe to Receive our Articles and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!