Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


adjective su·pe·ri·or \su̇-ˈpir-ē-ər\

Simple Definition of superior

  • : of high quality : high or higher in quality

  • : great or greater in amount, number, or degree

  • : better than other people

Full Definition of superior

  1. 1 :  situated higher up :  upper

  2. 2 :  of higher rank, quality, or importance

  3. 3 :  courageously or serenely indifferent (as to something painful or disheartening)

  4. 4a :  greater in quantity or numbers <escaped by superior speed>b :  excellent of its kind :  better <her superior memory>

  5. 5 :  being a superscript

  6. 6a of an animal structure :  situated above or anterior or dorsal to another and especially a corresponding part <a superior artery>b of a plant structure :  situated above or near the top of another part: as (1) of a calyx :  attached to and apparently arising from the ovary (2) of an ovary :  free from the calyx or other floral envelope

  7. 7 :  more comprehensive <a genus is superior to a species>

  8. 8 :  affecting or assuming an air of superiority :  supercilious

su·pe·ri·or·ly adverb

Examples of superior

  1. This new model offers superior performance.

  2. The small army was overwhelmed by superior numbers.

  3. He only helps us because it makes him feel superior.

  4. Report to your superior officer.

  5. The verdict was reversed by a superior court.

Origin of superior

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin, comparative of superus upper, from super over, above — more at over

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with superior



noun su·pe·ri·or

Simple Definition of superior

  • : a person of higher rank or status than another

Full Definition of superior

  1. 1 :  one who is above another in rank, station, or office; especially :  the head of a religious house or order

  2. 2 :  one that surpasses another in quality or merit

  3. 3 :  superscript

Examples of superior

  1. His superior gave him an excellent evaluation.

  2. You should report any problems to your immediate superior.

15th Century

First Known Use of superior

15th century


geographical name Su·pe·ri·or \su̇-ˈpir-ē-ər\

Definition of Superior

  1. city & port NW Wisconsin on Lake Superior pop 27,244

Medical Dictionary


adjective su·pe·ri·or \su̇-ˈpir-ē-ər\

Medical Definition of superior

  1. 1:  situated toward the head and further away from the feet than another and especially another similar part of an upright body especially of a human being <the superior medial edge of the patient's right scapula—J. M. Lewis>—compare inferior 1

  2. 2:  situated in a more anterior or dorsal position in the body of a quadruped—compare inferior 2

Seen and Heard

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


February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

100 pounds 2.2 pounds 196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.