inferior

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

Essential Meaning of inferior

1 : of poor quality : low or lower in quality inferior goods/materials/products an inferior performer/performance These pearls are of inferior quality.
2 : of little or less importance or value They were considered a socially inferior group. He always felt inferior around his brother.
3 : low or lower in rank The judges voted to overturn a ruling made by an inferior court.

Full Definition of inferior

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

Other Words from inferior

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for inferior

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 NoBos think SoBos are inferior: inexperienced, anti-social and strange. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Nov. 2021 The testimony as well as the many videos and social media posts introduced were awash in the iconography of hate, with Nazi symbols and stiff-armed salutes, with admiration for Hitler and claims that nonwhite races were inferior. New York Times, 23 Nov. 2021 Even in this alternate universe, Reggie can't help but feel inferior to Veronica's ex, Archie. Samantha Highfill, EW.com, 17 Nov. 2021 Students may arrive on campus from high schools where they were made to feel inferior academically, stifling their confidence. NBC News, 10 Oct. 2021 Best of all, the outside screen can serve as a camera viewfinder, allowing the user to take selfies with the main camera system instead of the default selfie camera, which is almost always inferior. Ben Sin, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 The achievement often includes a club smoking jacket and the acknowledgement that the host is still inferior to those who have hosted more, including Hanks and Steve Martin. NBC News, 19 Dec. 2021 The simple, hard-plastic interiors are inferior to the those in the GTI, which itself came under complaint for being a step backward from its predecessor. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, 29 Nov. 2021 As Figure 3 shows, LMGAX is inferior to IUSG in all five criteria that make up the holdings/Portfolio Management analysis. David Trainer, Forbes, 1 Nov. 2021

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 3

History and Etymology for inferior

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

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Time Traveler for inferior

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near inferior

inferentially

inferior

inferior conjunction

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Statistics for inferior

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inferior.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inferior. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for inferior

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

inferior

adjective
in·​fe·​ri·​or

Legal Definition of inferior

: of lower status, rank, or priority

More from Merriam-Webster on inferior

Nglish: Translation of inferior for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inferior for Arabic Speakers

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