1

superlative

play
adjective su·per·la·tive \su̇-ˈpər-lə-tiv\

Definition of superlative

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, or constituting the degree of grammatical comparison that denotes an extreme or unsurpassed level or extent

  2. 2a :  surpassing all others :  supremeb :  of very high quality :  excellent superlative work

  3. 3 :  excessive, exaggerated

superlatively

adverb

superlativeness

noun

Examples of superlative in a Sentence

  1. The superlative form of nice is nicest; the superlative form of bad is worst; the superlative form of interesting is most interesting.

  2. the New England town meeting is a superlative example of grassroots democracy

Recent Examples of superlative from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Superlative may sound high-flown when compared with a synonym like outstanding, but if your next paper comes back from your teacher with the comment "Superlative work!" at the top you probably won't complain. Since superlative means "best, greatest", it makes sense that superlative is also a term used in grammar for the highest degree of comparison. So for the adjective simple, for example, the comparative form is simpler and the superlative form is simplest; and for the adverb boldly, the comparative form is more boldly and the superlative is most boldly.

Origin and Etymology of superlative

Middle English superlatif, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin superlativus, from Latin superlatus (past participle of superferre to carry over, raise high), from super- + latus, past participle of ferre to carry — more at tolerate, bear

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


2

superlative

noun su·per·la·tive

Definition of superlative

  1. 1a :  the superlative degree of comparison in a languageb :  a superlative form of an adjective or adverb

  2. 2 :  the superlative or utmost degree of something :  acme

  3. 3 :  a superlative person or thing

  4. 4 :  an admiring sometimes exaggerated expression especially of praise

Examples of superlative in a Sentence

  1. Simplest is the superlative of simple.

Recent Examples of superlative from the Web

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

First Known Use of superlative

15th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


SUPERLATIVE Defined for English Language Learners

superlative

play
adjective

Definition of superlative for English Language Learners

  • grammar : of or relating to the form of an adjective or adverb that is used to indicate the greatest degree of a particular quality

  • : of very high quality

superlative

noun

Definition of superlative for English Language Learners

  • grammar : the form of an adjective or adverb that is used to indicate the greatest degree of a particular quality : the superlative form of an adjective or adverb


SUPERLATIVE Defined for Kids

1

superlative

play
adjective su·per·la·tive \su̇-ˈpər-lə-tiv\

Definition of superlative for Students

  1. 1 :  being the form of an adjective or adverb that shows the greatest degree of comparison “Best” is the superlative form of “good.”

  2. 2 :  better than all others :  supreme superlative work


2

superlative

play
noun su·per·la·tive

Definition of superlative for Students

  1. :  the superlative degree or a superlative form in a language



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

cleverly stylish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!