A predecessor is something that came before the current version. The person you replaced at work is your predecessor, just like Pac Man is the predecessor of modern video games.

If you break the word predecessor down to its Latin roots, you get pre, meaning "beforehand," and decessor, which means "retiring officer." So that's how we get to our definition of "someone who has held an office or position before the present holder." But predecessors aren't just found in the business world: these days predecessors include our ancestors, earlier car models, and all kinds of other forerunners.

Definitions of predecessor
  1. noun
    one who precedes you in time (as in holding a position or office)
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    person from an earlier time who contributed to the tradition shared by some group
    type of:
    forerunner, precursor
    a person who goes before or announces the coming of another
  2. noun
    something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone
    synonyms: forerunner, harbinger, herald, precursor
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    a predictor of indicator of future trends
    type of:
    indicant, indication
    something that serves to indicate or suggest
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