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accede

Someone who takes on or inherits an office or position is said to accede to it. Note that this is typically a high office. If you’re starting a new job as the official Second Assistant Paper Pusher you’d come off as silly and ludicrously pretentious if you said that you acceded to the office.

In fact, the word accede is usually, but far from always, reserved for monarchs, such as kings and queens, who assume the throne. (Note to all future kings and queens: In this case, assume means take on, not presume. It’s always a good idea to make sure the throne is indeed there rather than just presuming it’s there before you attempt to sit on it. Pratfalls might cause you to lose some respect in the eyes of your subjects.)

After acceding, monarchs get to sit on the throne until they die, step down or are overthrown. They will probably want to get up occasionally to go to the toilet, but that’s something completely different.

Surprisingly, despite there being more democracy in the world today than there was during the preceding centuries, monarchs aren’t overthrown as often now as they were in the past. I wonder why that is. But I digress.

By the way, I have no experience in the profession, but if someone wants to offer me the job of king I’d be happy to accede to the throne. However, I don’t look good in crowns, so I’d rather we forgo that custom, assuming that doing so won’t upset my future subjects too much. One doesn’t want to upset the rabble more than is necessary to ensure the protection of a king’s comfort, does one?

Another meaning of accede is to formally agree to or accept something, likely a treaty of some sort. An example of this use of accede in a sentence would be, “Lest there be any doubt, allow me to make it perfectly clear that I would happily accede to any treaty that would lead to me acceding to the kingship.”

See how I worked the other meaning of accede into that as well? Consider it a free bonus. That was clever and generous of me, your future king, wasn’t it? OK. You’re right. Maybe not.

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