Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of superlative
Meaning of superlative by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From Middle English superlatyf, from Old French superlatif, from Late Latin superlātīvus, from Latin superlātus ( “extravagant, of hyperbole” ), past participle of superfero ( “carry over” ), from super ( “above” ) + fero ( “bear, carry” ) .


    • ( RP ) IPA: /suːˈpɜː.lə.tɪv/, /sjuːˈpɜː.lə.tɪv/, SAMPA: /su:"p3:( r ).l@.tIv/
    • ( US ) IPA: /suːˈpɝː.lə.tɪv/, /sjuːˈpɝː.lə.tɪv/


    superlative ( plural: superlatives )

    1. The highest extent or degree of something .
    2. ( grammar ) 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. ( informal ) An adjective used to praise something exceptional .
      Lincoln is amazing, wonderful, fantastic, and many other superlatives I can’t think of right now!


    Related terms


    superlative ( not comparable )

    1. Exceptionally good; of the highest quality; superb .
    2. ( grammar ) Of or relating to a superlative .

    Usage notes

    Rather formal, reflecting its Latin etymology; more colloquial alternatives include exceptional, fabulous, above and beyond, and others .


    See also

Explanation of superlative by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. highest in quality

    1. the superlative form of an adjective or adverb

    2. `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'
    3. an exaggerated expression ( usually of praise )

    4. the critics lavished superlatives on it
    5. the highest level or degree attainable

    6. so many highest superlatives achieved by man

    Definition of superlative by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Superlative a. [L. superlativus, fr. superlatus excessive, used as p. p. of superiorferre, but from a different root: cf. F. superlatif. See Elate, Tolerate.]
      1. 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. ( Gram. ) 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”.

      -- Superlatively, adv. -- Superlativeness, n.

    2. Superlative, n.
      1. That which is highest or most eminent; the utmost degree.

      2. ( Gram. ) 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”.

      Absolute superlative, a superlative in an absolute rather than in a comparative or exclusive sense. See Elative.