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a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, with the basic meaning “above, beyond.” Words formed with super-, have the following general senses: “to place or be placed above or over” (superimpose; supersede), “a thing placed over or added to another” (superscript; superstructure; supertax), “situated over” (superficial; superlunary) and, more figuratively, “an individual, thing, or property that exceeds customary norms or levels” (superalloy; superconductivity; superman; superstar), “an individual or thing larger, more powerful, or with wider application than others of its kind” (supercomputer; superhighway; superpower; supertanker), “exceeding the norms or limits of a given class” (superhuman; superplastic), “having the specified property to a great or excessive degree” (supercritical; superfine; supersensitive), “to subject to (a physical process) to an extreme degree or in an unusual way” (supercharge; supercool; supersaturate), “a category that embraces a number of lesser items of the specified kind” (superfamily; supergalaxy), “a chemical compound with a higher proportion than usual of a given constituent” (superphosphate).
Origin of super-
< Latin super (preposition and v. prefix) above, beyond, in addition, to an especially high degree; akin to Greek hypér (see hyper-), Sanskrit upari; see over Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for super-


placed above or over: superscript
of greater size, extent, quality, etc: supermarket
surpassing others; outstanding: superstar
beyond a standard or norm; exceeding or exceedingly: supersonic
indicating that a chemical compound contains a specified element in a higher proportion than usual: superoxide
Word Origin
from Latin super above
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for super-

word-forming element from Latin adverb and preposition super "above, over, on the top (of), beyond, besides, in addition to," from PIE *uper "over" (cf. Sanskrit upari, Avestan upairi "over, above, beyond," Greek hyper, Old English ofer "over," Gothic ufaro "over, across," Gaulish ver-, Old Irish for), comparative of root *upo "under."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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super- in Medicine

super- pref.

  1. Above; over; upon: superstructure.

  2. Superior in size, quality, number, or degree: supersonic.

  3. Exceeding a norm: supersaturate.

  4. Excessive in degree or intensity: superexcitation.

  5. Containing a specified ingredient in an unusually high proportion: superoxide.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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