Definition of superior in English:



  • 1Higher in rank, status, or quality.

    ‘a superior officer’
    ‘the new model is superior to every other car on the road’
    • ‘Most neoclassical works based on the discoveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii were imitations of an art thought to be formally and morally superior to that of the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘Despite the differences, the films are close enough in tone to force a comparison, and Spider is the superior film.’
    • ‘It's obviously quite possible that the artschool/art-appreciation approach is vastly superior to any and all alternatives.’
    • ‘The writing is often superior to most one-hour dramas. the extremely snappy and witty dialogue can elevate even the most cliché sit-com moments into pomo gems.’
    • ‘This one was helmed by Rich Rosenthal, who also directed the far superior sequel Halloween II.’
    • ‘Then, of course, there are pollsters who maintain that their own consumer surveys are superior.’
    • ‘The bank's position would be superior if it were entitled to combine the accounts.’
    • ‘They were certainly physically superior to me.’
    • ‘Spirited Away made me cry, which Howl's doesn't do, and I think Spirited Away is the superior film overall, but Howl's is still a magnificent piece of work.’
    • ‘Determining which is the superior choice for residential applications depends on whom you ask.’
    • ‘It is not true that the essays are superior to the novels, but they have a sustained perfection that the novels do not match.’
    • ‘Without question, the DTS is the superior track here as it's fuller, richer, and more expansive.’
    • ‘The elegant expressions of Parisian Cubism are the superior works of art if you value subtle composition and exquisite harmonies of tone.’
    • ‘The level of design across the board is superior to what we have here in the US.’
    • ‘Liberal democracy reflects the normative orientation that people and their rights are superior to government, with governments existing to secure those rights.’
    • ‘The nutritive value of timothy, however, was superior to other forages at the more mature stage.’
    • ‘Plus, the picture quality is superior to your typical broadcast picture.’
    • ‘It is vastly superior to the previous two films.’
    • ‘I've just seen the preview for the extended version of the movie, and so far it looks so superior to the cinematic release that it feels like a different movie.’
    • ‘The visual quality of Burton's Planet of the Apes was superior to the original… but the movie wasn't half as good.’
    • ‘And sometimes, US drama is superior to the UK equivalent.’
    higher-ranking, higher-level, senior, higher, higher-up, upper-level, upper, loftier
    better, more expert, more skilful, more advanced
    good-quality, high-quality, first-class, first-rate, top-quality, high-grade, of the first water, of the first order
    high-class, upper-class, select, exclusive, elite
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    1. 1.1 Of high standard or quality.
      ‘superior malt whiskies’
      • ‘The co-op says the product line features premium nuts with superior color, texture and flavor.’
      • ‘Fully automating these tests is a luxury that can go a long way to getting a superior product to the consumer.’
      • ‘Its mission is to provide superior technology and expertise to the growing market for XML applications and services.’
      • ‘Prices are reasonable and the selection is superior.’
      • ‘Krahling buys directly from a number of growers, each selected for the superior quality of his or her product.’
      • ‘Often new technology increases the cost, but the superior performance justifies the expense.’
      • ‘These consumers tend to buy luxury products for their superior functionality and quality.’
      • ‘We believe we will do just fine because we offer superior choice, price, and quality of customer care.’
      • ‘Ask for a box rim flushing system over a standard rim flush for superior performance in a close coupled unit.’
      • ‘Long hang times help develop the rich flavors for superior wines.’
      • ‘The bikes offer superior acceleration and handling at the slight expense of its straight line top speed.’
      • ‘Schenden credits a robust economy, as well as superior products rolling off the assembly line, for helping to boost revenues.’
      • ‘A lot of companies are interested in investing in Ireland - they have superior building systems and can provide a superior standard of service.’
      • ‘You can therefore only reasonably expect higher returns if you select a superior manager or pick a timely strategy.’
      finer, better, higher-grade, higher-calibre, surpassing, of higher quality, greater, grander
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    2. 1.2 Greater in size or power.
      ‘deploying superior force’
      • ‘Seeing an enemy combatant get blasted by superior firepower isn't as cool in real life as it is in a John Wayne flick.’
      • ‘You're always alone, fighting off vastly superior forces by the skin of your teeth and by, more than occasionally, stupid blind luck.’
      • ‘Yet DeGaulle and a small group of partisans went underground and refused to accept the superior power of the German army.’
      • ‘In reality, union representation harms many workers, contrary to the assertions of the proponents of the superior bargaining power fallacy.’
      • ‘No war lord is prone to acknowledge any limits other than those imposed on him by a superior armed force.’
      • ‘After finding himself overwhelmed by superior enemy forces, Shin is shot down.’
      • ‘One dominant factor is the fact that comparatively superior armed forces aren't enough when it comes to securing democracy, pluralism, and human rights.’
      • ‘Their superior bargaining power allowed insurers to negotiate sharp reductions in fees, which were passed on to employers in the form of lower premiums.’
      • ‘The defence of a ruined fort in the flyblown town of San Antone, against a superior force of trained Mexican troops, seemed reckless in the extreme.’
      • ‘Remember that this is a carrier, not a fleet; so don't expect old tactics of overrunning the enemy position with superior numbers to work.’
      • ‘In the crudest terms, the critical factor in the loyalist Protestant supremacy mindset was its superior physical force.’
      • ‘The Russians held the city against superior forces, when food and ammunition had virtually given out.’
      • ‘Now the subjects can be brought to fear not only the ruler's superior force, but also his supernatural powers.’
      • ‘It was just they were driven back by overwhelming superior forces.’
      • ‘Colonial conquest was not only the result of the power of superior arms and military organisation, but sustained and strengthened as much by the cultural technologies of rule.’
    3. 1.3superior to Above yielding to or being influenced by.
      ‘I felt superior to any accusation of anti-Semitism’
      • ‘Boycotting is making a statement that you do not value yourself as being superior to others, that workers are also people and deserve to be treated as such.’
      • ‘Or will he be as stubborn as a plutocrat in order to prove he is superior to her?’
  • 2Having or showing an overly high opinion of oneself; conceited.

    ‘that girl was frightfully superior’
    • ‘He is pompous and superior, particularly in his treatment of Holly.’
    • ‘It has a superior, snotty tone that reminds one of the problems some candidates have had in wooing the average American voter.’
    • ‘People who try to pretend they're superior make it so much harder for those of us who really are.’
    • ‘Come to think of it, not so long ago even Puccini was trashed by superior people, who considered his contemporaries decadent, shabby frauds beneath contempt.’
    • ‘He is equal parts superior, insecure, vain, snobbish, and fearful.’
    • ‘If you were a member, or aspiring member, of the latter group, you looked with superior amusement at the awkward wretches who were building a more curious identity with the help of drug culture.’
    condescending, supercilious, patronizing, haughty, disdainful, lofty, lordly, pompous, snobbish, snobby
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  • 3(of a letter, figure, or symbol) written or printed above the line.

  • 4Anatomy
    Further above or out; higher in position.

    • ‘The upper horns (or superior cornua) meet the back of the hyoid bone, while the inferior cornua are attached to the side of the cricoid, forming a pivotal joint.’
    1. 4.1Botany (of the ovary of a flower) situated above the sepals and petals.


  • 1A person superior to another in rank or status, especially a colleague in a higher position.

    ‘obeying their superiors' orders’
    • ‘The problem is compounded by his shyness, his fear of being spotted by a colleague or superior from the shipyard, his total lack of experience, and the fact that he really doesn't like cheese.’
    • ‘These people include past employers and colleagues - usually a mixture of subordinates and superiors, to get a clearer insight into the candidate's management style.’
    • ‘Recently some staff refused to collect taxes when one of their superiors tried to proscribe bribery in the ranks.’
    • ‘The work lacks subtlety, rolling out the issues that our poor heroine must face (uncaring superiors, obnoxious patients, health risks) as if on an assembly line.’
    • ‘A main focus will be on ‘intrapreneurship’, as companies adopt a culture where mistakes are accepted, the status quo is rejected and superiors are challenged.’
    • ‘Tough but softly spoken, he leads the platoon through enemy lines with an ease that confounds his superiors as they attempt to emulate his advance.’
    • ‘Resistance is likely to be directed at management from superiors and employees.’
    • ‘Middle managers had come to rely on their superiors for guidance on decisions big and small.’
    • ‘The salary discrimination permits the superiors to fix the salaries of their employees on an arbitrary basis.’
    • ‘A major key to negotiating, whether with colleagues, customers, subordinates, or superiors, is the sincere willingness to gain a clear understanding of what the other party wants.’
    • ‘This attitude towards his superiors would be mere insolence if it did not have political overtones.’
    • ‘Getting nominated for this award is usually the first indication that a professional woman or a female entrepreneur has been noticed by her colleagues, peers, clients or superiors for the role she plays in her organisation.’
    • ‘If the code is followed in your workplace, you should be made aware of allegations or complaints against you by a colleague or superior.’
    • ‘They were astonished to find stacks of gold ingots higher than their heads and reported this to their superiors.’
    • ‘Whether from superiors, colleagues or focus testing, all feedback is invaluable - it is very easy to get too close to your work, and fresh perspectives can make a lot of difference.’
    • ‘Like Gerry and David, Rosie cites a poor relationship with her superior as one of the factors behind her selection for redundancy.’
    • ‘Greg is a corporal in the army but he never seems to obey orders or even to address his superiors as anything other than equals.’
    • ‘Each time he goes to see his immediate superiors, and each time they're completely different people, with completely different power structures in place.’
    • ‘For Paul, life has always been about following orders and listening to your superiors.’
    • ‘You're trying to solve interesting problems, but how interesting they are, and whether your solutions are really good, is something that only your technical peers or superiors are normally equipped to judge.’
    • ‘Status symbols highlighting the distinction between superiors and subordinates are also very important in such an environment.’
    manager, boss, chief, supervisor, senior, controller, headman, foreman
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    1. 1.1 The head of a monastery or other religious institution.
      • ‘By 1579, the Jesuit, Matteo Ricci, in a letter to his superiors, offered a more detailed description of the plant's cultivation and was the first to note a difference in brewing between the Chinese and the Japanese.’
      • ‘It happened almost ten years ago when the religious superior of my Franciscan Friary advised the priests in the community that we would no longer assist in local churches on weekends since there were so few priests in the house.’
  • 2Printing
    A superior letter, figure, or symbol.


Late Middle English: from Old French superiour, from Latin superior, comparative of superus ‘that is above’, from super ‘above’.