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 suit claims the photos of Renty and Delia were taken a few years after Harvard had recruited Agassiz, who espoused a theory that Africans and African-Americans were inferior to whites. Sarah Jorgensen, CNN, "Harvard professor in 1800s had photos taken of slaves. Now his family wants the school to give the images to their descendants," 20 June 2019 New research suggests that contemporary mini-brains -- even if inferior to their fictional counterparts -- are still capable of a surprise or two. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Mini-brains grown from stem cells don't think, but they do show 'complex' neural activity, researchers say," 27 June 2019 Currently, intellectual agendas in British universities operate to maintain a narrow, inward looking perspective that reinforces the logics of Orientalism (the Western attitude that views Eastern societies as exotic, primitive, and inferior). Katy Sian, Quartz, "“Liberal racism” continues to plague Britain’s universities," 27 June 2019 And there would be no magic in combining a crappy olive oil with inferior CBD. Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit, "A CBD Olive Oil That Lives Up to the Hype," 8 June 2019 Common rules set by Sacramento are likely to produce outcomes that are inferior to those reached by local governing authorities. K.c. Alfred / The San Diego Union-tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Should Sacramento control short-term rentals, Airbnb in San Diego County?," 7 June 2019 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

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

18 Jul 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

Comments on inferior

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appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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