inferior

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

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

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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 They were forced to pose naked and photographed clinically, from several angles, reinforcing the idea of African people and their descendants as inferior; not-human. New York Times, "The Artist Upending Photography’s Brutal Racial Legacy," 5 May 2021 Americans boasted of their egalitarianism, but many of them were racists who regarded Mexicans too as hopelessly inferior—lowly, primitive, and backward. David S. Reynolds, The New York Review of Books, "When Slaves Fled to Mexico," 27 Apr. 2021 Whedon’s version wound up being a critical and box-office failure that Snyder devotees saw as inferior—sight unseen—to whatever had been planned. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "Zack Snyder’s Justice League Is the Ultimate Fan Service," 20 Mar. 2021 Chances are that, even if this were to get an Emergency Use Authorization by the F.D.A., this vaccine will be viewed as inferior by Americans. John Lamattina, Forbes, "What Else Can Go Wrong With AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine?," 12 Mar. 2021 Typically, a cull buck is one that deer managers have identified as genetically inferior and should be removed from the wild herd. Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, "Quit Worrying About Genetics: How Successful Deer Hunters Think About Antler Growth, Cull Bucks, and Passing Good Deer," 22 Feb. 2021 Both Pele and Kekoa were close to their great-grandmothers—women born in the early 1900s, who spoke some Hawaiian, even though they were raised to think of their mother tongue as inferior to English. Daniella Zalcman, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Inspiring Quest to Revive the Hawaiian Language," 17 Nov. 2020 Again, Swift, whose Reputation Stadium Tour broke the record for highest-grossing U.S. tour in 2018, feeling inferior to a dude who’s performed in front of a few dozen people? Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "All the new songs, notable lyrics and biggest changes on Taylor Swift's rerecorded 'Fearless'," 9 Apr. 2021 Too often, Black students are made to feel inferior, said Domjang, a senior at Robbinsdale Virtual Academy. Anthony Lonetree, Star Tribune, "Advocates renew push for funding, recruiting teachers of color in Minnesota," 2 Mar. 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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Statistics for inferior

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inferior.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inferior. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on inferior

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