'Obsolete' as a verb


Senior Member
A computer systems keeps track on a number of items. Each item has a record with a number of fields and one of the fields is 'Status', which can take the values 'Active' or 'Obsolete'.
In below instruction (from a non-english speaker) everyone will know what is meant, but I'm not sure about the use of 'obsolete' as a verb.

Re. group A, F and H - please obsolete following items:

[List of items].
Reason for obsoletion:
Code Description
01 Not for Sale
02 Replaced by XX see comment
03 Safety
04 Quality

Is there a better way of expressing the intention?

best regards NSV
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In the world of computers, jargon abounds. I would not worry about it in that context - but I would never use obsolete that way in standard English, where I would write:

    "Please mark the following as obsolete."


    Senior Member
    Thanks for the answer sdgraham.
    The context is not a computer environment with all their weird jargons, but rather production and sales of industrial equipment. The instructions are sent around the world to offices in China, USA, France, etc., and that is why I worry about correct language.
    From Word Reference dictionary:

    Automation has obsoleted many factory workers.

    Some sources [e.g. Oxford*] say AE. Question-- Would you--esp. if you are an AE speaker-- say or write this?

    Me, no. Atrocious.

    *Oxford example:
    ‘This single 31 ounce device virtually obsoletes whole families of current bulky (by comparison), radio equipment.’


    Senior Member
    British English
    The verb "obsolete" goes back to at least 1640. Source: OED 3rd Edition
    1640 J. Pym in J. Rushworth Hist. Coll.: Third Pt. (1692) I. 133 But when Religion is innovated,..our modern Laws already obsoleted [etc.].
    That's only 60 years after the adjective and the same age as the noun.


    Senior Member
    British English
    Interesting information. So may I conclude you use the verb without hesitation because of its age?
    No. I'm just observing that it is a long-established usage, not something that has recently appeared as computer jargon. I've no reason to use it.
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