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

And without access to Alpenrose, local Little League teams will likely have to absorb $20,000 in new costs this year to rent fields from local schools and parks — many of which are inferior in quality, Rowell said. oregonlive, "Public access to Alpenrose ball fields, race tracks on shaky ground as dairy’s sale looms," 6 Sep. 2019 Second, research has shown that laptop notes are inferior to longhand notes. Kenneth A. Kiewra, Quartz, "A seven-step guide to taking better notes," 4 Sep. 2019 Astronomers say that the 2250-meter-high site, about half as high as Mauna Kea, is inferior for observations. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Stalled in Hawaii, giant telescope faces roadblocks at its backup site in the Canary Islands," 3 Sep. 2019 Many American businesses benefited from black bodies as property — human beings who yielded generations of free labor and profit for those who saw them as inferior and not human. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Commentary: Reframing American history — New York Times series on slavery should become required reading," 20 Aug. 2019 Boggs supplied inferior and defective materials in his parts that were used in military aircraft, vehicles and vessels, according to prosecutors. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Fort Worth defense contractor charged with felony for using cheap, substandard parts for U.S. tanks, other weapons," 19 Aug. 2019 Some early conservationists embraced the eugenics movement, which saw ‘‘social Darwinism’’ as a way of improving the human race by limiting the birthrates of people considered inferior. Joel Achenbach, BostonGlobe.com, "Two mass murders a world apart share a common theme: ‘ecofascism’," 18 Aug. 2019 Some do their best to avoid overtly claiming that any race is inferior, arguing that each should have its own ethno-state. The Economist, "What is “White Nationalism”?," 14 Aug. 2019 Clearly, the Soviet Union had the background, know-how, and brains though their political system was inferior to ours in terms of organizing those brains. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Michael Collins Is Ready To Go To Mars," 20 July 2019

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

12 Sep 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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