inferior

adjective in·fe·ri·or \ in-ˈfir-ē-ər \
Updated on: 8 Dec 2017

Definition of inferior

1 : situated lower down : lower
2 a : 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
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 : relating to or being a subscript

inferior

noun

inferiority

play \(ˌ)in-ˌfir-ē-ˈȯr-ə-tē, -ˈär-\ noun

inferiorly

play \in-ˈfir-ē-ər-lē\ adverb

Examples of inferior in a Sentence

  1. … the pearls were of inferior quality; they looked like pearlized globs of varying wrinkly shapes. —Tracie RozhonNew York Times24 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 ZimmerNatural HistorySeptember 2000
  3. No longer do workers and peasants feel inferior to the university-trained. —Rhea Menzel WhiteheadSaturday Review4 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.

Recent Examples of inferior from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of inferior

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

inferior Synonyms

Synonyms
lower, nether
Antonyms
higher, superior, upper
Related Words
lowest, nethermost; underlying
Near Antonyms
highest, uppermost; overhanging, overhead

INFERIOR Defined for English Language Learners

inferior

adjective

Definition of inferior for English Language Learners

  • : of poor quality : low or lower in quality

  • : of little or less importance or value

  • : low or lower in rank


INFERIOR Defined for Kids

1

inferior

adjective in·fe·ri·or \ in-ˈfir-ē-ər \

Definition of inferior for Students

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

2

inferior

noun

Definition of inferior for Students

: a less important person or thing

Medical Dictionary

inferior

adjective in·fe·ri·or \ in-ˈfir-ē-ər \

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

Law Dictionary

inferior

adjective in·fe·ri·or

legal Definition of inferior

: of lower status, rank, or priority


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