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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The man, who is in his thirties, immediately reported the incident to his superior. Noemie Bisserbe And Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Vatican Envoy to France Is Investigated for Sexual Assault Allegation," 15 Feb. 2019 Conversely, Washington fell short every single time against superior teams and failed to capture that elusive signature victory. Percy Allen, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: After breakout season, what’s next for UW hoops? Here are 3 storylines to watch," 26 Mar. 2019 And, importantly, the expensive or prescription options may or may not be superior to a drugstore product with the same active ingredient. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "What Exactly Are 'Actives' in Skin-Care Products?," 8 Mar. 2019 Only the Inca commanded a larger empire than the Chimú in pre-Columbian South America, and superior Inca forces put an end to the Chimú Empire around A.D. 1475. National Geographic, "Exclusive: Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World's Largest," 26 Apr. 2018 His verbal learning and memory and auditory memory had jumped from substandard to superior. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 Despite that power-demanding leap, Apple says the Air’s 12-hour battery life remains about the same – and superior to the more powerful MacBook Pro that costs $100 more. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "Apple redesigns the iPad Pro, breathes new life in the MacBook Air," 30 Oct. 2018 The excitement of club football had been deemed superior to the inevitable disappointment of international football, until the 2018 World Cup. SI.com, "How Social Media Helped Create a Positive Atmosphere for England to Thrive in During World Cup Run," 12 July 2018 The videos, along with observations by pilots and radar operators, appear to provide evidence of the existence of aircraft far superior to anything possessed by the United States or its allies. Anchorage Daily News, "The Pentagon isn’t taking UFOs seriously enough," 16 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Her minders later sent the pictures to their superiors, pretending that the photos were taken on different days. Maya Wang, WSJ, "China’s Bumbling Police State," 26 Dec. 2018 At the time, a spokesperson for Tesla said that none of the individuals ever brought up these claims with their superiors. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Black Tesla factory workers describe racism and discrimination, NYT reports," 30 Nov. 2018 His activities are unlikely to remain unnoticed by his superiors. Karel Janicek, Fox News, "Catholic priest in Slovakia challenges celibacy rules," 21 Sep. 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.

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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

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Statistics for superior

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for superior

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

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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

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superior

adjective
su·​pe·​ri·​or

Legal Definition of superior

: of higher status, rank, or priority

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Comments on superior

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