inferiority complex

[ in-feer-ee-awr-i-tee kom-pleks, -or- ]
See synonyms for inferiority complex on
  1. an intense feeling of inferiority or inadequacy; low self-esteem, sometimes characterized by compensatory behaviors intended to bolster self-confidence. : Compare superiority complex.

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Origin of inferiority complex

First recorded in 1920–25

Words Nearby inferiority complex Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use inferiority complex in a sentence

  • I yielded to an instinct for deprecative horse-play, one of my worst faults, begot of an inferiority-complex.

    Tramping on Life | Harry Kemp
  • This superintendent must have a terrible inferiority complex, which that disfiguring scar certainly didn't help.

    Man of Many Minds | E. Everett Evans
  • For how much longer will man be a slave to his inferiority complex with regard to his own rational capacities?

    The Necessity of Atheism | Dr. D.M. Brooks
  • It occupied all her thoughts; and in the process she soon developed what would now be dubbed a marked inferiority-complex.

    The Magnificent Montez | Horace Wyndham

British Dictionary definitions for inferiority complex

inferiority complex

  1. psychiatry a disorder arising from the conflict between the desire to be noticed and the fear of being humiliated, characterized by aggressiveness or withdrawal into oneself

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