su·​per·​struc·​ture | \ ˈsü-pər-ˌstrək-chər How to pronounce superstructure (audio) \

Definition of superstructure

1a : an entity, concept, or complex based on a more fundamental one
b : social institutions (such as the law or politics) that are in Marxist theory erected upon the economic base
2 : a structure built as a vertical extension of something else: such as
a : all of a building above the basement
b : the structural part of a ship above the main deck

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Other Words from superstructure

superstructural \ ˌsü-​pər-​ˈstrək-​chə-​rəl How to pronounce superstructural (audio) , -​ˈstrək-​shrəl \ adjective

Examples of superstructure in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The radar is installed in a number of bulges on the ship's superstructure, again, like American ships. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Launches Asia's Largest Surface Warship," 28 June 2017 In addition to the hole punched in the hull, the ship experienced extensive damage to its superstructure, as the Crystal struck a glancing blow against the warship. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "New Photos Reveal Extent of Damage to the USS Fitzgerald," 12 July 2017 The original design was a huge triangular wedge with a towering superstructure jutting out in one direction. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Problem with The Last Jedi's New Star Destroyer," 18 Dec. 2017 In the Google Maps satellite photos, the two ships side by side in the shipyard—the two Type 055s—appear still under construction with various parts of the superstructure missing. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "This Is What a Real Naval Buildup Looks Like," 5 June 2018 The metal superstructure of the plant is about ten stories tall, and there are dozens of men hanging off of every level, welding. Michael J. Mooney, Popular Mechanics, "Inside the Koch Brothers' Industrial Empire," 9 Oct. 2015 Her superstructure was stripped and a 550-foot wooden flight deck fitted. Matthew Moss, Popular Mechanics, "How the American Aircraft Carrier Became King of the Seas," 22 May 2018 Its bones, the superstructure, are solid enough, and carrying on, in British fashion, even if its dermis of Yorkshire limestone is spotty. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Westminster is rotting from within," 25 Apr. 2018 Yet analysts say even the better-performing units suffer under a heavy superstructure. The Economist, "Activist investors go after a German industrial icon," 31 May 2018

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

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for superstructure

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for superstructure

The first known use of superstructure was in 1626

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More Definitions for superstructure



English Language Learners Definition of superstructure

: the part of a structure (such as a ship or bridge) that is above the lowest part

More from Merriam-Webster on superstructure

Spanish Central: Translation of superstructure

Nglish: Translation of superstructure for Spanish Speakers

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