su·​per·​pow·​er | \ˈsü-pər-ˌpau̇(-ə)r \

Definition of superpower 

1 : excessive or superior power

2a : an extremely powerful nation specifically : one of a very few dominant states in an era when the world is divided politically into these states and their satellites

b : an international governing body able to enforce its will upon the most powerful states

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Other Words from superpower

superpowered \ˈsü-​pər-​ˌpau̇(-​ə)rd \ adjective

Examples of superpower in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

As a water sign, your superpowers are defined by your incredible intuition. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's August 2018 Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 30 July 2018 This trip, the first made by a U.S. defense secretary in four years, comes as trade and military tensions with the Asian superpower are mounting. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Defense Secretary James Mattis Visits China Amidst Uncertain Tensions," 26 June 2018 In 1959, rather than joining his boyhood team and the city's dominant force, 1860 Munich, Beckenbauer opted to seek out his professional career with today's Bundesliga superpower., "World Cup Countdown: 12 Weeks to Go - 'The Emperor' Franz Beckenbauer & His Awe-Inspiring Career," 1 Apr. 2018 Some might say that as the world’s sole superpower, the United States has no reason for such demonstrations, asserting, perhaps, that such parades are more in line with authoritarian regimes such as Communist China or North Korea. Jerry Hendrix, National Review, "On Parades and Politics," 15 Feb. 2018 The rebel leader’s death is likely to further complicate talks between Russia and the U.S. on resolving the Ukraine crisis, which has plunged relations between the two nuclear superpowers to the worst level in decades. Anatoly Kurmanaev, WSJ, "Blast Kills Leader of Russia-Backed Separatist Region in Eastern Ukraine," 31 Aug. 2018 The summit in fact had the two world superpowers sit down and discuss in a civilized way for two hours privately, then two hours with staff, the wide gamut of issues that are important to this world. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Trump’s allies in Congress are blaming the press for Trump’s performance in Helsinki," 17 July 2018 Both Brazil and France are the only two superpowers to have so far combined the two opposing approaches, of tactical resoluteness and hard work, and of technical brilliance and star quality, and successfully merged the two as a winning formula., "Quality vs Fire: Why Uruguay's Clash With France Could Indicate How the World Cup Will Be Won," 4 July 2018 Also, given China’s disputes with America over trade and security, North Korea could become a template for how the two superpowers can work together, to everyone’s benefit. The Economist, "Dealing with North Korea, Trump puts showmanship first," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'superpower.' 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 superpower

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for superpower

The first known use of superpower was in 1849

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English Language Learners Definition of superpower

: an extremely powerful nation

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More from Merriam-Webster on superpower

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with superpower

Spanish Central: Translation of superpower

Nglish: Translation of superpower for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of superpower for Arabic Speakers

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