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adjective in·fe·ri·or \in-ˈfir-ē-ər\

Simple Definition of inferior

  • : of poor quality : low or lower in quality

  • : of little or less importance or value

  • : low or lower in rank

Full Definition of inferior

  1. 1 :  situated lower down :  lower

  2. 2 a :  of low or lower degree or rank b :  of poor quality :  mediocre

  3. 3 :  of little or less importance, value, or merit <always felt inferior to his older brother>

  4. 4 a :  situated below another and especially another similar superior part of an upright body b :  situated in a relatively low posterior or ventral position in a quadrupedal body c (1) :  situated below another plant part or organ (2) :  abaxial

  5. 5 :  relating to or being a subscript

inferior noun
in·fe·ri·or·i·ty play \(ˌ)in-ˌfir-ē-ˈȯr-ə-tē, -ˈär-\ noun
in·fe·ri·or·ly play \in-ˈfir-ē-ər-lē\ adverb

Examples of inferior

  1. … the pearls were of inferior quality; they looked like pearlized globs of varying wrinkly shapes. —Tracie Rozhon, New York Times, 24 Aug. 2002

  2. Sharks, rays, and ratfishes share a special burden: these cartilaginous fishes are saddled with a reputation for being somehow inferior to vertebrates blessed with bony skeletons. —Carl Zimmer, Natural History, September 2000

  3. No longer do workers and peasants feel inferior to the university-trained. —Rhea Menzel Whitehead, Saturday Review, 4 Mar. 1972

  4. These pearls are of inferior quality.

  5. They were considered a socially inferior group.

  6. He always felt inferior around his brother.

  7. The judges voted to overturn a ruling made by an inferior court.

Origin of inferior

Middle English, from Latin, comparative of inferus lower — more at under

First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with inferior

INFERIORITY Defined for Kids


noun in·fe·ri·or·i·ty \in-ˌfir-ē-ˈȯr-ə-tē\

Definition of inferiority

  1. 1 :  the state of being of lower importance, value, or quality

  2. 2 :  a sense of being less important or valuable

Medical Dictionary


adjective in·fe·ri·or \in-ˈfir-ē-ər\

Medical Definition of inferior

  1. 1:  situated below and closer to the feet than another and especially another similar part of an upright body especially of a human being—compare superior 1

  2. 2:  situated in a more posterior or ventral position in the body of a quadruped—compare superior 2

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up inferior? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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