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

Simply because virtually any of them would be superior to President Trump doesn’t mean their ideas shouldn’t be scrutinized. Jennifer Rubin, Twin Cities, "Jennifer Rubin: Putting the candidates’ ideas under a bright light," 7 July 2019 Being mischievous without being superior is the key. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "Filmmaker Ari Aster talks about the 'Frankenstein's monster' that is ‘Midsommar’," 2 July 2019 But the homemade version (which makes more than necessary for this dish) is superior. Michael Gardiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chef’s guidance in foraging leads the way to tasty culinary discoveries," 25 June 2019 Though some jobs may pay better or be more glamorous, no job is morally superior to another. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A ‘Cosby Show’ Lesson," 6 Sep. 2018 Benjamin, who at first seems morally superior, turns out to be blind to his own sense of entitlement. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: With ‘Skintight,’ Idina Menzel Takes On a Straight Play. Sort Of.," 21 June 2018 But the sugar molecules in a tablespoon of honey are not going to be superior to the sugar molecules found in a tablespoon of white sugar. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Can Our Bodies Even Tell the Difference Between Naturally Occurring and Added Sugars?," 24 June 2019 SpaceX maintains that its technology is superior to and more modern than that of its competitors. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Elon Musk’s SpaceX clashes with the Pentagon, its key client," 21 June 2019 Slack is superior to email, the argument goes, because conversations within it allow for many participants and are public within a company, creating a permanent record of projects, processes or meetings. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Shares in workplace software phenom Slack soar 50% in first day of trading," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Not only do the sailors compare their sneak attacks to rape, but they and their superiors also understand brutalizing women while on shore as a natural coefficient of their murderous work at sea. Adrian Daub, The New Republic, "Hulu’s Das Boot Gets Lost at Sea," 19 June 2019 Real Madrid manager Zidane has faced an uphill battle convincing his superiors to commit to the deal, but Marca's report states that Los Blancos will now go full throttle to sign Pogba ahead of the new La Liga season. SI.com, "Paul Pogba 'Willing to Pressure' Man Utd Into Sale This Summer as Real Madrid Wait in the Wings," 11 June 2019 The summary of Garden City’s internal report and Young’s letter to his superiors offered no answers on those missing minutes. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Collapse and Confusion: The Death of a Juco Football Player," 24 June 2019 Within hours of the incident, Beckley reported his account to his superiors. James Brown, CBS News, "Defending DJ: Was the fatal shooting of a Pace University football player justified?," 22 June 2019 Bullying in the workplace is not uncommon in Japan, where many companies remain deeply hierarchical and relationships between superiors and subordinates are seen as inviolable. Isabella Steger, Quartz at Work, "Japan finally passed laws to prevent “pawa hara,” or workplace bullying," 30 May 2019 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

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

11 Jul 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

to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!