[soo-per-puh-zish-uh n]

Origin of superposition

1790–1800; < French superposition; see super-, position Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for superposition

Historical Examples of superposition

British Dictionary definitions for superposition


  1. the act of superposing or state of being superposed
  2. geology the principle that in any sequence of sedimentary rocks which has not been disturbed, the oldest strata lie at the bottom and the youngest at the top
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 superposition

1650s, from French superposition, from Late Latin superpositionem (nominative superpositio), noun of action from past participle stem of superponere, from super (see super-) + ponere "to put, place" (see position).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

superposition in Science


  1. The principle that in a group of stratified sedimentary rocks the lowest were the earliest to be deposited.
  2. The principle by which the description of the state of a physical system can be broken down into descriptions that are themselves possible states of the system. For example, harmonic motion, as of a violin string, can be analyzed as the sum of harmonic frequencies or harmonics, each of which is itself a kind of harmonic motion; harmonic motion is therefore a superposition of individual harmonics.
  3. The combination of two or more physical states, such as waves, to form a new physical state in accordance with this principle. See also wave. See Note at Schrödinger.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.