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



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


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

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Other Words from superior


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Aside from a short spurt of four turnovers in just under two minutes during the first half and a 10-0 ASU run that cut a 17-point lead down to three scores with 4:27 to go, Oregon used its superior depth to keep the game under control. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Chris Duarte returns to lead finally full strength Oregon men’s basketball past Arizona State, Remy Martin," 12 Feb. 2021 Silk is a popular liner material, even for rugged backcountry trips, because of its superior warmth. Matt Jancer, Wired, "20 Best Deals From Winter Clearance Sales This Week," 12 Feb. 2021 But his current line of 20.2 points and 6.7 assists is a far superior fit for his team and its postseason hopes. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "Finger: All Star-less for now, San Antonio Spurs see the upside," 11 Feb. 2021 Lynch’s election should help Harrison, an equally ferocious hitter with superior statistics, more rings, and absolutely no interest in playing politics. Globe Staff,, "Why have so many Patriots been overlooked so far for the Hall of Fame?," 9 Feb. 2021 With superior speed up top, the Bulldogs were able to make several chances at the goal that ultimately went wide or right into the arms of the Pearl River keeper. Mike Gegenheimer | Contributing Writer,, "Pearl River boys get revenge against NOMMA in opening round of soccer playoffs," 6 Feb. 2021 The beefier Brady, who has already sired about 75 calves, is sought after for his superior fatty marbling. Mark Dunphy, Chron, "Texas beef company offering Brady's semen for free if Bucs win Super Bowl," 5 Feb. 2021 If Behren Morton is able to push aside the stigma surrounding true freshmen quarterbacks, the offense could retake its place as the superior unit. Dallas News, "Predicting team ratings for area schools in EA Sports’ revived college football video game: Texas, A&M and more," 3 Feb. 2021 Unmoored from its counterweight, Celtic effectively found itself in a league of its own, its financial firepower vastly superior to any of its putative rivals’, any challenge to its hegemony entirely theoretical. New York Times, "Old Rivals, New Ideas and Why Some Clubs Are Reluctant to Try," 29 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Regina King is mind-blowing as a Tulsa police officer thrust into an investigation about the death of her superior that leads her to confront the very racist past of our country. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 50 Best TV Shows on HBO Max," 13 Jan. 2021 As mealtime wound down, the monkeys began to groom each other—their way to not only eliminate parasites but also placate a superior or form an alliance. Maciek Pożoga, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Japan’s Wild Snow Monkeys Can Teach Us About Animal Culture," 5 Jan. 2021 The late Chadwick Boseman could also garner a supporting actor nomination as the men's beloved superior. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "10 movies you need to see before the most unpredictable Oscar season ever," 14 Dec. 2020 The Browns are riding a four-game winning streak and would love to blow a hole in the Ravens’ playoff chances after eating so many losses to their AFC North superior over the years. Childs Walker,, "Five Things We Learned from the Ravens’ 34-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys," 9 Dec. 2020 The Post Office is looking into a video from Project Veritas alleging a United States Postal Service whistleblower in Michigan was directed to manipulate the dates of late ballots by a superior. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "USPS Inspector General ‘looking into’ Project Veritas video on Michigan late ballots," 5 Nov. 2020 A few months earlier, after his superior in the Resistance had been lured into a trap and captured, Monod had gone completely underground. Sean B. Carroll, The Atlantic, "The Molecular Biologist Who Exposed the Soviet Union," 6 Oct. 2020 Having protocol for undercover operations is critical, experts say Undercover officers generally don’t have an informant come to a police precinct or meet a superior. Olivia Mitchell, cleveland, "Cleveland police detective’s slaying underscores the risks of undercover investigations," 23 Sep. 2020 An Education and Workforce Development Cabinet worker emailed the warning to a superior who elevated it to various cabinet officials April 22. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "Legal misinterpretation to blame for delay in reporting Kentucky unemployment breach," 21 Sep. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of superior


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for superior


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

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Time Traveler for superior

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for superior

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Superior.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for superior



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



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

: a person of higher rank or status than another


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



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


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

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Legal Definition of superior

: of higher status, rank, or priority

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