What does superlative mean?

Definitions for superlative
səˈpɜr lə tɪv, sʊ-su·perla·tive

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word superlative.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. superlativenoun

    an exaggerated expression (usually of praise)

    "the critics lavished superlatives on it"

  2. acme, height, elevation, peak, pinnacle, summit, superlative, meridian, tiptop, topnoun

    the highest level or degree attainable; the highest stage of development

    "his landscapes were deemed the acme of beauty"; "the artist's gifts are at their acme"; "at the height of her career"; "the peak of perfection"; "summer was at its peak"; "...catapulted Einstein to the pinnacle of fame"; "the summit of his ambition"; "so many highest superlatives achieved by man"; "at the top of his profession"

  3. superlative, superlative degreeadjective

    the superlative form of an adjective or adverb

    "`fastest' is the superlative of the adjective `fast'"; "`least famous' is the superlative degree of the adjective `famous'"; "`most surely' is the superlative of the adverb `surely'"

  4. greatest, sterling(a), superlativeadjective

    highest in quality


  1. superlativenoun

    The highest extent or degree of something.

  2. superlativenoun

    The form of an adjective that expresses which of more than two items has the highest degree of the quality expressed by the adjective; in English, formed by appending "-est" to the end of the adjective (for some short adjectives only) or putting "most" before it.

    The superlative of "big" is "biggest"

  3. superlativenoun

    An adjective used to praise something exceptional.

    Lincoln is amazing, wonderful, fantastic, and many other superlatives I can't think of right now!

  4. superlativeadjective

    Exceptionally good; of the highest quality; superb.

  5. superlativeadjective

    Of or relating to a superlative.

  6. Etymology: From superlatyf, from superlatif, from superlativus, from superlatus, past participle of superfero, from super + fero.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SUPERLATIVEadjective

    Etymology: superlatif, Fr. superlativus, Latin.

    It is an usual way to give the superlative unto things of eminence; and when a thing is very great, presently to define it to be the greatest of all. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours.

    Some have a violent and turgid manner of talking and thinking; they are always in extremes, and pronounce concerning every thing in the superlative. Isaac Watts.

    The high court of parliament in England is superlative. Francis Bacon, Advice to Villiers.

    Martyrdoms I reckon amongst miracles; because they seem to exceed the strength of human nature; and I may do the like of superlative and admirable holiness. Francis Bacon.

    The generality of its reception is with many the persuading argument of its superlative desert; and common judges measure excellency by numbers. Joseph Glanvill.

    Ingratitude and compassion never cohabit in the same breast; which shews the superlative malignity of this vice, and the baseness of the mind in which it dwells. Robert South, Sermons.


  1. superlative

    Comparison is a feature in the morphology or syntax of some languages whereby adjectives and adverbs are rendered in an inflected or periphrastic way to indicate a comparative degree, property, quality, or quantity of a corresponding word, phrase, or clause. A superlative construction expresses the greatest quality, quantity, or degree relative to all other comparators. The associated grammatical category is degree of comparison. The usual degrees of comparison are the positive, which simply denotes a property (as with the English words big and fully); the comparative, which indicates greater degree (as bigger and more fully); and the superlative, which indicates greatest degree (as biggest and most fully). Some languages have forms indicating a very large degree of a particular quality (called elative in Semitic linguistics). Other languages (e.g. English) can express lesser degree, e.g. beautiful, less beautiful, least beautiful. The comparative degrees are frequently associated with adjectives and adverbs because these words take the -er suffix or modifying word more or less. (e.g., faster, more intelligent, less wasteful). Comparison can also, however, appear when no adjective or adverb is present, for instance with nouns (e.g., more men than women). However, the usage of the word than between nouns simply denotes a comparison made and not degree of comparison comparing the intensity or the extent of the subjects. One preposition, near, also has comparative and superlative forms, as in Find the restaurant nearest your house.


  1. superlative

    A superlative is a form or degree of an adjective or adverb that indicates the highest degree or the most intense level of a quality, quantity, or manner. It's generally used to compare three or more things, implying that the subject surpasses all others in the particular characteristic being compared. Examples include "best," "worst," "smartest," and "most beautiful." It can also refer to an exaggerated or hyperbolic statement.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Superlativeadjective

    lifted up to the highest degree; most eminent; surpassing all other; supreme; as, superlative wisdom or prudence; a woman of superlative beauty; the superlative glory of the divine character

  2. Superlativeadjective

    expressing the highest or lowest degree of the quality, manner, etc., denoted by an adjective or an adverb. The superlative degree is formed from the positive by the use of -est, most, or least; as, highest, most pleasant, least bright

  3. Superlativenoun

    that which is highest or most eminent; the utmost degree

  4. Superlativenoun

    the superlative degree of adjectives and adverbs; also, a form or word by which the superlative degree is expressed; as, strongest, wisest, most stormy, least windy, are all superlatives

  5. Etymology: [L. superlativus, fr. superlatus excessive, used as p. p. of superiorferre, but from a different root: cf. F. superlatif. See Elate, Tolerate.]


  1. Superlative

    In grammar, the superlative is the form of an adverb or adjective that expresses a degree of the adverb or adjective being used that is greater than any other possible degree of the given descriptor. English superlatives are typically formed with the suffix -est or the word most.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Superlative

    sū-pėr′la-tiv, adj. raised above others or to the highest degree: superior to all others: most eminent: (gram.) expressing the highest degree of a quality.—n. (gram.) the superlative or highest degree of adjectives and adverbs: any word or phrase full of exaggeration.—adv. Super′latively.—n. Super′lativeness, state of being superlative or in the highest degree. [L. superlativussuperlatus, pa.p. of superferresuper, above, ferre, to carry.]

Matched Categories

How to pronounce superlative?

How to say superlative in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of superlative in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of superlative in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of superlative in a Sentence

  1. Fox News:

    I really did n’t expect it, but I ’m absolutely thrilled – because I sort of started as a recurring character and we all collaborated into it being this wonderful, specific role that I ’m delighted to playm the whole ‘ Succession ’ cast is SUPERLATIVE and I ’m thrilled that so many of us have been acknowledged. This is just a fantastic thrill ! This show is absolutely a one-of-a-kind experience – Jesse is a raving genius and seems to have hired all the right people !

  2. Adam Sandler:

    A few weeks back when I was quote, unquote, snubbed by the academy, it reminded me when I briefly attended high school and was overlooked for the coveted yearbook superlative category best looking.

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Translations for superlative

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"superlative." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/superlative>.

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