See more synonyms for superstructure on
  1. the part of a building or construction entirely above its foundation or basement.
  2. any structure built on something else.
  3. the overlying framework or features of an organization, institution, or system, built or superimposed on a more fundamental base.
  4. Nautical. any construction built above the main deck of a vessel as an upward continuation of the sides.Compare deckhouse.
  5. the part of a bridge that rests on the piers and abutments.
  6. anything based on or rising from some foundation or basis: a complex ideological superstructure based on two hypotheses.

Origin of superstructure

First recorded in 1635–45; super- + structure
Related formssu·per·struc·tur·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for superstructure


  1. the part of a building above its foundation
  2. any structure or concept erected on something else
  3. nautical any structure above the main deck of a ship with sides flush with the sides of the hull
  4. the part of a bridge supported by the piers and abutments
  5. (in Marxist theory) an edifice of interdependent agencies of the state, including legal and political institutions and ideologies, each possessing some autonomy but remaining products of the dominant mode of economic production
Derived Formssuperstructural, adjective
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 superstructure

1640s, from super- + structure (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

superstructure in Medicine


  1. A structure above the surface.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.