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 Such debates over which blockchain is superior are unlikely, however, to resonate with most average computer users, for whom the entire concept of blockchain is fuzzy to begin with. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "The blockchain industry faces a moment of truth as high-profile projects go live," 21 Oct. 2020 Premium breast milk storage bags cost closer to $0.20 per bag and in addition to having a wealth of features, their construction quality is superior. Sian Babish,, "The best breast milk storage bag," 9 Oct. 2020 When careful research shows neither option is clearly superior, that could be the definition of a tough decision — or the opposite. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: She’s not game for her in-law’s family feuds," 2 Oct. 2020 After weathering the 2008 financial crisis, during which Western institutions struggled so visibly, Chinese leaders concluded that their playbook was superior and would work abroad. Jonathan E. Hillman, WSJ, "The Imperial Overreach of China’s Belt and Road Initiative," 1 Oct. 2020 However, stock performance has been superior in election years in which a Republican won. Nathan Bachrach And Amy Wagner, The Enquirer, "Allworth Advice: Who's better for stocks, Trump or Biden?," 30 Sep. 2020 Mitchell believed that air power was superior to naval power and that a handful of airplanes could cripple the largest battleship. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch: Airplane Makes Battleship Disappear With a Smoke Screen," 5 Oct. 2020 The company has previously said that its baseline worker pay, which starts at $17 an hour, is superior to that offered by other retailers. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Amazon workers outside Jeff Bezos' home call for a Prime Day boycott," 5 Oct. 2020 First, electric vehicle tech is advancing very quickly, and is objectively superior to internal combustion in every way except energy storage (where its disadvantage is fading fast). Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Gavin Newsom's weak-sauce electric cars plan," 25 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Lombardo is also the founder and superior of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, whose mission is to serve the West Humboldt Park community. Laura Rodríguez Presa,, "Pope Francis appoints new auxiliary bishops to the Archdiocese of Chicago," 11 Sep. 2020 Fernandes was reported missing by Killeen and U.S. Army police on Aug. 19 after he was last seen on Aug. 17, when officials said a superior dropped him off at his house. Acacia Coronado, USA TODAY, "Missing Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes' body found in Texas, attorney says," 26 Aug. 2020 But attorneys said the sweeping federal civil rights lawsuit — which names Schroeder but not Hess, who is Schroeder's superior and reports directly to the mayor — filed before the committee hearing overlapped those topics. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Judge: City officials have to testify publicly in Louisville Metro Council investigation," 8 Sep. 2020 In July, one of the dentists compiled a list of health and safety questions that the dentist forwarded to the regional director — the superior of the dentists’ immediate supervisor. Megan Cassidy,, "State halts operations at San Quentin dental clinic, citing COVID-19 hazard," 3 Sep. 2020 Khawam said that after Fernandes reported in May that he had been inappropriately touched by a male superior, he was transferred to another unit, and word spread within the new unit, leading to harassment, belittling, bullying and hazing. Cody Shepard, USA TODAY, "Fort Hood Sgt. Elder Fernandes 'humiliated' after reporting sexual abuse, says family's lawyer," 27 Aug. 2020 The White House policy that Eisenberg violated was devised by his own immediate superior, then-White House Counsel Don McGahn, who only five weeks earlier had distributed a memorandum outlining the policy to the entire White House staff. Murray Waas, The New York Review of Books, "The Trump Obstruction of Justice Mueller Missed?," 17 Aug. 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

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Superior.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for superior


How to pronounce Superior (audio)

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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