su·​per·​pow·​er | \ ˈsü-pər-ˌpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce superpower (audio) \

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
c : an extremely powerful company, organization, etc. The retailer hoped to become a financial services superpower— Patricia Sellers
3 : a power or ability (such as the ability to become invisible or to fly) of the kind possessed by superheroes : a superhuman power The Fantastic Four first appeared in November 1961, originating with four friends who journeyed to space to thwart the Russians from getting there first. They were overwhelmed by a menacing radiation cloud and their molecular structure was altered, giving each of them superpowers.— Laura Mattoon D'Amore The superpower I've always wished for is invisibility, and I chose my vocation accordingly. A novelist gets 140,000 words per one tiny author photo. That's a visibility ratio I can live with.— Barbara Kingsolver

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Other Words from superpower

superpowered \ ˈsü-​pər-​ˌpau̇(-​ə)rd How to pronounce superpowered (audio) \ adjective

Examples of superpower in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Beyond its home market, China aims to become a global automotive superpower and considers wider penetration of its own EVs as essential to that objective longer term. Fortune, "The electric car market is buzzing with Europe and China taking the lead," 13 Oct. 2020 But as the world's main superpower militarily, economically and culturally, no other leader's health has the same impact on global affairs as the American president's. Saphora Smith, NBC News, "Trump Covid diagnosis puts America's friends and foes on alert," 5 Oct. 2020 The standing of the United States, which became a superpower because of its role in the two world wars, has tanked, even among its closest allies, according to a Pew Research Center poll that was released last month. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Presidential Illnesses Have Changed the Course of World History," 4 Oct. 2020 If this policy of unprincipled engagement continues, the United States stands to lose the future to today’s Communist superpower. Michael Mccaul, National Review, "It’s Time to Get Serious about the People’s Republic of China," 1 Oct. 2020 As a nearby nuclear superpower and former overlord, Russia has leverage with both sides. Marc Champion,, "Why Stakes Are Raised in the Azeri-Armenian Conflict," 28 Sep. 2020 How did a superpower allow itself to be felled by a virus? Hannah Beech, New York Times, "‘I Feel Sorry for Americans’: A Baffled World Watches the U.S.," 26 Sep. 2020 In the 1960s, both Garcia and the Microbus came to represent a growing angst in America about the country’s role as a nuclear superpower and its reliance on commercialism to feed a voracious appetite for more, more, more. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, "How the Volkswagen Bus Became a Symbol of Counterculture," 6 Mar. 2020 Chinese and North Korean leaders saw a chance to challenge the legitimacy of the American superpower. The Economist, "Chaguan China is celebrating 70 years since it entered the Korean war," 3 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for superpower

Time Traveler

The first known use of superpower was in 1849

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Statistics for superpower

Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Superpower.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce superpower (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of superpower

: an extremely powerful nation

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