If you take over your neighbor's backyard and claim his in-ground swimming pool as your own, you might seize control of, or usurp his yard, but he'll probably call the cops on you.

Leaders who usurp power don't ask for permission to take control of their country. They seize power, often with the help of a large army of followers. A usurper doesn't have to be human. A brand-new radio station can usurp the most popular station in town by playing a better mix of music.

Definitions of usurp
  1. verb
    seize and take control without authority and possibly with force; take as one's right or possession
    “he usurped my rights”
    synonyms: arrogate, assume, seize, take over
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    take (territory) as if by conquest
    appropriate, capture, conquer, seize
    take possession of by force, as after an invasion
    occupy or take possession of beforehand or before another or appropriate for use in advance
    seize control of
    take over (a company) by buying a controlling interest of its stock
    capture after a fight
    colonise, colonize
    settle as a colony; of countries in the developing world
    type of:
    take by force
  2. verb
    take the place of
    “gloom had usurped mirth at the party after the news of the terrorist act broke”
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    type of:
    replace, supercede, supersede, supervene upon, supplant
    take the place or move into the position of
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