inferior

adjective
in·​fe·​ri·​or | \ in-ˈfir-ē-ər How to pronounce inferior (audio) \

Definition of inferior

1 : situated lower down : lower
2a : of low or lower degree or rank
b : of poor quality : mediocre
3 : of little or less importance, value, or merit always felt inferior to his older brother
4a : 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 : relating to or being a subscript

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Other Words from inferior

inferior noun
inferiority \ (ˌ)in-​ˌfir-​ē-​ˈȯr-​ə-​tē How to pronounce inferiority (audio) , -​ˈär-​ \ noun
inferiorly \ in-​ˈfir-​ē-​ər-​lē How to pronounce inferiorly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for inferior

Synonyms

lower, nether

Antonyms

higher, superior, upper

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Examples of inferior in a Sentence

… the pearls were of inferior quality; they looked like pearlized globs of varying wrinkly shapes. — Tracie Rozhon, New York Times, 24 Aug. 2002 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 No longer do workers and peasants feel inferior to the university-trained. — Rhea Menzel Whitehead, Saturday Review, 4 Mar. 1972 These pearls are of inferior quality. They were considered a socially inferior group. He always felt inferior around his brother. The judges voted to overturn a ruling made by an inferior court.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The helmet that Tom Brady and Drew Brees use has been deemed inferior by lab testing. Profootballdoc, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Brady, Brees helmet deemed inferior; that's not whole story," 17 Apr. 2018 Single-payer systems have proved inferior to the U.S. in outcomes for almost all serious diseases, including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Scott W. Atlas, WSJ, "The False Promise of ‘Medicare for All’," 12 Nov. 2018 So far liberal reformers are proving sadly inferior to their predecessors in terms of both their grasp of the crisis and their ability to generate solutions. The Economist, "Rulers of the world: read Karl Marx!," 3 May 2018 And the Court was clear who was being targeted by that system: black students, who had been permanently relegated to an inferior role. Will Stancil, The Atlantic, "The Radical Supreme Court Decision That America Forgot," 29 May 2018 In the last month, the London club has lost to Arsenal, Manchester City — a 6-0 humiliation — and even to an ostensibly inferior Bournemouth. Rob Harris, The Seattle Times, "Maurizio Sarri isolated at Chelsea after fans turn on him," 19 Feb. 2019 These immigrants not only had different religious beliefs (Catholicism), but they were viewed by many as members of a different, inferior race. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Historian and author John Fea on Trump’s “court evangelicals” and the long history of Christian nationalism.," 5 Nov. 2018 Sarek, who was shaping Federation policy, nevertheless felt that humans were an inferior race. Annalee Newitz, Ars Technica, "Star Trek Discovery: “I’ve made a lot of bad emotional choices”," 7 Feb. 2018 Then, in July, the blockchain was used again as citizens collectively fought to preserve an investigative story that exposed how Chinese babies were being given inferior vaccines. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "2018 was the year Chinese internet users evaded censorship — briefly," 20 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inferior.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of inferior

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inferior

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

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Statistics for inferior

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inferior

The first known use of inferior was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for inferior

inferior

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of inferior

: of poor quality : low or lower in quality
: of little or less importance or value
: low or lower in rank

inferior

adjective
in·​fe·​ri·​or | \ in-ˈfir-ē-ər How to pronounce inferior (audio) \

Kids Definition of inferior

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : situated lower down (as in place or importance) an inferior court
2 : of little or less importance, value, or merit He always felt inferior to his brother.
3 : of poor quality an inferior education

inferior

noun

Kids Definition of inferior (Entry 2 of 2)

: a less important person or thing

inferior

adjective
in·​fe·​ri·​or | \ in-ˈfir-ē-ər How to pronounce inferior (audio) \

Medical Definition of inferior

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 sense 1
2 : situated in a more posterior or ventral position in the body of a quadruped — compare superior sense 2

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inferior

adjective
in·​fe·​ri·​or

Legal Definition of inferior

: of lower status, rank, or priority

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More from Merriam-Webster on inferior

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inferior

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inferior

Spanish Central: Translation of inferior

Nglish: Translation of inferior for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inferior for Arabic Speakers

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