1. Higher than another in rank, station, or authority: a superior officer.
2. Of a higher nature or kind.
3. Of great value or excellence; extraordinary.
4. Greater in number or amount than another: an army defeated by superior numbers of enemy troops.
5. Presuming to be or suggesting that one is morally or socially better than others; disdainful or supercilious.
6. Above being affected or influenced; indifferent or immune: "Trust magnates were superior to law" (Gustavus Myers).
7. Located higher than another; upper.
8. Botany Inserted or situated above the perianth. Used of an ovary.
9. Printing Set above the main line of type.
10. Logic Of wider or more comprehensive application; generic. Used of a term or proposition.
1. One that surpasses another in rank or quality.
2. Ecclesiastical The head of a religious community, such as a monastery, abbey, or convent.
3. Printing A superior character, as the number 2 in x2.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin, comparative of superus, upper, from super, over; see uper in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
su·pe′ri·ori·ty (-ôrĭ-tē, -ŏr-) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.