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predecessor (n.)

late 14c., "one who has held an office or position before the present holder," from Old French predecesseor "forebear" and directly from Late Latin praedecessorem (nominative praedecessor), from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + decessor "retiring official," from decess-, past participle stem of decedere "go away," also "die" (see decease (n.)). Meaning "ancestor, forefather" is recorded from c. 1400.

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Definitions of predecessor from WordNet

predecessor (n.)
one who precedes you in time (as in holding a position or office);
predecessor (n.)
something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone;
From wordnet.princeton.edu