- 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-
- placed above or oversuperscript
- of greater size, extent, quality, etcsupermarket
- surpassing others; outstandingsuperstar
- beyond a standard or norm; exceeding or exceedinglysupersonic
- indicating that a chemical compound contains a specified element in a higher proportion than usualsuperoxide
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."
- Above; over; upon:superstructure.
- Superior in size, quality, number, or degree:supersonic.
- Exceeding a norm:supersaturate.
- Excessive in degree or intensity:superexcitation.
- Containing a specified ingredient in an unusually high proportion:superoxide.