a person inferior to another or others, as in rank or merit.
Also called subscript. Printing. a letter, number, or symbol written or printed low on a line of text.Compare superior(def 12).

Nearby words

  1. inference,
  2. inferencing,
  3. inferential,
  4. inferential statistics,
  5. inferentially,
  6. inferior alveolar nerve,
  7. inferior anastomotic vein,
  8. inferior artery of knee,
  9. inferior basal vein,
  10. inferior cerebellar peduncle

Origin of inferior

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin, equivalent to infer(us) lower (cf. under) + -ior comparative suffix

Related formsin·fe·ri·or·i·ty [in-feer-ee-awr-i-tee, -or-] /ɪnˌfɪər iˈɔr ɪ ti, -ˈɒr-/, nounin·fe·ri·or·ly, adverbqua·si-in·fe·ri·or, adjectivesub·in·fe·ri·or, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inferiority

British Dictionary definitions for inferiority



lower in value or quality
lower in rank, position, or status; subordinate
not of the best; mediocre; commonplace
lower in position; situated beneath
(of a plant ovary) enclosed by and fused with the receptacle so that it is situated below the other floral parts
  1. orbiting or occurring between the sun and the earthan inferior planet; inferior conjunction
  2. lying below the horizon
printing (of a character) printed at the foot of an ordinary character, as the 2 in H 2 O


an inferior person
printing an inferior character
Derived Formsinferiority (ɪnˌfɪərɪˈɒrɪtɪ), nouninferiorly, adverb

Word Origin for inferior

C15: from Latin: lower, from inferus low

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

Word Origin and History for inferiority
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for inferiority




Low or lower in order, degree, or rank.
Low or lower in quality, value, or estimation.
Second-rate; poor.
Situated below or directed downward.
In human anatomy, situated nearer the soles in relation to a reference point.
Related formsin•fe′ri•ori•ty (-ôrĭ-tē) n.

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