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[suh-peer-ee-er, soo-] /səˈpɪər i ər, sʊ-/
higher in station, rank, degree, importance, etc.:
a superior officer.
above the average in excellence, merit, intelligence, etc.:
superior math students.
of higher grade or quality:
superior merchandise.
greater in quantity or amount:
superior numbers.
showing a consciousness or feeling of being better than or above others:
superior airs.
not yielding or susceptible (usually followed by to):
to be superior to temptation.
higher in place or position:
We moved our camp to superior ground.
  1. situated above some other organ.
  2. (of a calyx) seeming to originate from the top of the ovary.
  3. (of an ovary) free from the calyx.
  1. higher in place or position; situated above another.
  2. toward the head.
    Compare inferior (def 7).
Printing. written or printed high on a line of text, as the “2” in a 2 b; superscript.
Compare inferior (def 9).
one superior to another.
Also called superscript. Printing. a superior letter, number, or symbol.
Compare inferior (def 11).
Ecclesiastical. the head of a monastery, convent, or the like.
Origin of superior
1350-1400; Middle English (adj.) < Latin, equivalent to super(us) situated above (adj. derivative of super; see super-) + -ior comparative suffix; see -er4
Related forms
superiorly, adverb
quasi-superior, adjective
unsuperior, adjective
unsuperiorly, adverb
2. excellent, distinguished, unrivaled, first-rate, matchless. 5. haughty, arrogant, snobbish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for superiorly
Historical Examples
  • Before her was a mirror in which she glanced at her hair that had been superiorly tralala'd.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • Then the phone clicked most savagely and ominously and superiorly at the other end.

    Twelve Men Theodore Dreiser
  • In certain species these processes are attached only by their bases, and are separated from each other superiorly.

  • Black men were awed into helplessness by the superiorly armed mob.

  • And Eve looked at him superiorly, triumphant, sure of him, sure of her everlasting power over him!

    Mr. Prohack

    E. Arnold Bennett
  • Also in the axolotl, where there are douple pits, placed side by side, not only superiorly but at the same time inferiorly.

    On the Genesis of Species St. George Mivart
  • When the whaleboat was alongside, he descended into it first, superiorly, then invited Nau-hau to accompany him.

    Jerry of the Islands Jack London
  • I admit that the Greeks are superiorly exact and faithful in their descriptions of nature.

    The Aesthetical Essays Friedrich Schiller
  • He tried to say it superiorly, paternally, as an older man might have said it—and was not altogether successful.

    The Quickening Francis Lynde
  • You may say, superiorly: "He has expressed himself clumsily, but I can see what he means."

British Dictionary definitions for superiorly


greater in quality, quantity, etc
of high or extraordinary worth, merit, etc
higher in rank or status: a superior tribunal
displaying a conscious sense of being above or better than others; supercilious
(often postpositive) foll by to. not susceptible (to) or influenced (by)
placed higher up; situated further from the base
  1. (of a planet) having an orbit further from the sun than the orbit of the earth
  2. (of a conjunction) occurring when the sun lies between the earth and an inferior planet
(of a plant ovary) situated above the calyx and other floral parts
(anatomy) (of one part in relation to another) situated above or higher
(printing) (of a character) written or printed above the line; superscript
a person or thing of greater rank or quality
(printing) a character set in a superior position
(often capital) the head of a community in a religious order
Derived Forms
superioress, noun:feminine
superiority (suːˌpɪərɪˈɒrɪtɪ) noun
superiorly, adverb
Usage note
Superior should not be used with than: he is a better (not a superior) poet than his brother; his poetry is superior to (not superior than) his brother's
Word Origin
C14: from Latin, from superus placed above, from super above


/suːˈpɪərɪə; sjuː-/
Lake Superior, a lake in the N central US and S Canada: one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world and westernmost of the Great Lakes. Area: 82 362 sq km (31 800 sq miles)
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 superiorly



late 14c., "higher in position," from Old French superior, from Latin superiorem (nominative superior) "higher," comparative of superus "situated above, upper," from super "above, over" (see super-). Meaning "higher in rank or dignity" is attested from late 15c.; sense of "of a higher nature or character" is attested from 1530s. Original sense was preserved more strongly in French (cf. les étages supérieur "the upper stories"), and in Lake Superior, a loan-translation of French Lac Supérieur, literally "upper lake" (it has the highest elevation of the five Great Lakes).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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superiorly in Medicine

superior su·pe·ri·or (su-pēr'ē-ər)

  1. Higher than another in rank, station, or authority.

  2. Situated above or directed upward.

  3. Situated nearer the top of the head.

su·pe'ri·or·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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