superior

adjective
su·​pe·​ri·​or | \ su̇-ˈpir-ē-ər How to pronounce superior (audio) \

Definition of superior

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : situated higher up : upper
2 : of higher rank, quality, or importance
3 : courageously or serenely indifferent (as to something painful or disheartening)
4a : greater in quantity or numbers escaped by superior speed
b : excellent of its kind : better her superior memory
5 : being a superscript
6a of an animal structure : situated above or anterior or dorsal to another and especially a corresponding part a superior artery
b of a plant structure : situated above or near the top of another part: such as
(1) of a calyx : attached to and apparently arising from the ovary
(2) of an ovary : free from the calyx or other floral envelope
7 : more comprehensive a genus is superior to a species
8 : affecting or assuming an air of superiority : supercilious

superior

noun

Definition of superior (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : one who is above another in rank, station, or office especially : the head of a religious house or order
2 : one that surpasses another in quality or merit

Superior

geographical name
Su·​pe·​ri·​or | \ su̇-ˈpir-ē-ər How to pronounce Superior (audio) \

Definition of Superior (Entry 3 of 3)

city and port on Lake Superior in northwestern Wisconsin population 27,244

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from superior

Adjective

superiorly adverb

Examples of superior in a Sentence

Adjective

This new model offers superior performance. The small army was overwhelmed by superior numbers. He only helps us because it makes him feel superior. Report to your superior officer. The verdict was reversed by a superior court.

Noun

His superior gave him an excellent evaluation. You should report any problems to your immediate superior.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Levels suggest a hierarchy, the advancement from inferior to superior qualities of joy. Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic, "David Brooks’s Moral Journey," 5 June 2019 That Never Happened Two Fyre Festival documentaries came out this year (this one, which premiered on Netflix in January, and Fyre Fraud, which premiered on Hulu a few weeks before), but the Netflix one is superior for several reasons. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Best Documentaries of 2019 That Are Already Changing Everything," 20 Mar. 2019 The new Acoustasonic, meanwhile, has a new design with superior build quality that improves the acoustic side appreciably without taking away from the electric side. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "Fender's 'Acoustasonic' Is a True Acoustic-Electric Hybrid Guitar," 22 Jan. 2019 The pair epitomised the grizzled ruthlessness and serial winning mentality which ultimately overcame the superior quality of the French. SI.com, "Why France's Quality and Experience Means Now is the Time to Stand and Deliver at the World Cup," 22 June 2018 Apple has been touting the HomePod’s superior sound quality but so far hasn’t enticed many consumers to part with $349. Mark Gurman, Houston Chronicle, "Apple HomePod disappoints with slow sales after tardy debut," 12 Apr. 2018 Apple has been touting the HomePod’s superior sound quality but so far hasn’t enticed many consumers to part with $349. Fortune, "Apple HomePod Disappoints With Slow Sales After Tardy Debut," 12 Apr. 2018 This Harman Kardon Traveler is a compact Bluetooth speaker delivering superior sound quality while fitting in a carry-on bag or briefcase. Debbie Carlson, chicagotribune.com, "Tools to make traveling for work simpler," 12 Apr. 2018 Last, and possibly most important.... Is North Carolina barbecue superior to that of, say, Texas? Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "Designer Leyden Lewis Wants to Cover Your Staircase in Leather," 15 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The driver notified his superiors about the problem, Miller wrote, but the report was ignored. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Uber manager in March: “We shouldn’t be hitting things every 15,000 miles”," 11 Dec. 2018 Even more surprising at the time, many of these abuse cases were known to the offending priests’ superiors. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Scathing report reveals 300 Pennsylvania Catholic priests sexually abused over 1,000 children," 19 Oct. 2018 Ivey spokesman Daniel Sparkman disputed the claim that the trooper was told not to tell his superiors. Kim Chandler, The Seattle Times, "Alabama governor disputes assertion she had mini-stroke," 16 Oct. 2018 Elma faces indifferent or hostile superiors, colleagues, and press. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The Lady Astronaut novels are an enthralling alternate history of the space race," 22 Aug. 2018 Humphries immediately reported the threats to his superiors, who in turn asked to see all his e-mail correspondence with the Kelleys. Vicky Ward, Town & Country, "The Bizarre Scandal That Brought Down General David Petraeus," 29 Nov. 2016 Notably, the statement did not say the priest should leave the priesthood to take care of his child as a layman — the common default response by church superiors. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Priest’s son demands Vatican attention for clergy’s children," 20 Feb. 2019 But as the final stages approached, a female army lieutenant loyal to the government learned of the plot and alerted her superiors. John Otis And, WSJ, "‘Pressure Cooker’: Discontent Rises in Venezuela Military as Economy Dives," 18 May 2018 Han isn’t the greatest Imperial soldier, and after getting in trouble with his superiors, he gets tossed in a large cell housing some sort of noisy beast. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "'Solo': Decoding the six biggest reveals of the newest 'Star Wars' movie (spoilers!)," 27 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'superior.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of superior

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for superior

Adjective

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin, comparative of superus upper, from super over, above — more at over

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about superior

Statistics for superior

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for superior

The first known use of superior was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for superior

superior

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of superior

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of high quality : high or higher in quality
: great or greater in amount, number, or degree
: better than other people

superior

noun

English Language Learners Definition of superior (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person of higher rank or status than another

superior

adjective
su·​pe·​ri·​or | \ su̇-ˈpir-ē-ər How to pronounce superior (audio) \

Kids Definition of superior

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : situated higher up : higher in rank, importance, numbers, or quality
2 : excellent of its kind : better a superior athlete
3 : showing the feeling of being better or more important than others : arrogant a superior smirk

superior

noun

Kids Definition of superior (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person who is higher than another in rank, importance, or quality
2 : the head of a religious house or order

superior

adjective
su·​pe·​ri·​or | \ su̇-ˈpir-ē-ər How to pronounce superior (audio) \

Medical Definition of superior

1 : situated toward the head and further away from the feet than another and especially another similar part of an upright body especially of a human being the superior medial edge of the patient's right scapula— J. M. Lewis — compare inferior sense 1
2 : situated in a more anterior or dorsal position in the body of a quadruped — compare inferior sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

superior

adjective
su·​pe·​ri·​or

Legal Definition of superior

: of higher status, rank, or priority

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on superior

What made you want to look up superior? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!