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superman

[soo-per-man] /ˈsu pərˌmæn/
noun, plural supermen.
1.
a person of extraordinary or superhuman powers.
2.
an ideal superior being conceived by Nietzsche who attains happiness, dominance, and creativity.
3.
a superior being conceived as the product of human evolution.
4.
one who prevails by virtue of being a ruthless egoist of superior strength, cunning, and force of will.
Origin
1900-1905
1900-05; super- + man1, translation of German Übermensch
Usage note
See -man.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for superman
  • The fortress of solitude was the fictional abode and headquarters of superman.
British Dictionary definitions for superman

superman

/ˈsuːpəˌmæn/
noun (pl) -men
1.
(in the philosophy of Nietzsche) an ideal man who through integrity and creativity would rise above good and evil and who represents the goal of human evolution
2.
any man of apparently superhuman powers
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
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Word Origin and History for superman
n.

1903, coined by George Bernard Shaw to translate German Übermensch, "highly evolved human being that transcends good and evil," from "Thus Spake Zarathustra" (1883-91), by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). First used in German by Hermann Rab (1520s), and also used by Herder and Goethe. Translated as overman (1895) and beyond-man (1896) before Shaw got it right in his play title "Man and Superman" (1903). Application to comic strip hero is from 1938.

So was created ... Superman! champion of the oppressed, the physical marvel who had sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need! ["Action Comics," June 1, 1938]
Superwoman first recorded 1976 in the sense of "one who combines career and motherhood."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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superman in Culture

Superman definition


A seemingly immortal, superhuman comic-strip character created in the late 1930s, who hides his powers beneath the persona of Clark Kent, a mild-mannered newspaper reporter. Only when there is a threat of danger — often to his fellow reporter and secret love, Lois Lane — does Clark transform himself into the caped hero with x-ray vision.

Note: Superman has been adapted for various radio and television series and a number of highly successful films.

Superman definition


An ideal of humanity found in Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche. The Superman, or Overman (the German is &Udie;bermensch), is the single goal of all human striving, for which people must be willing to sacrifice all. It is doubtful that Nietzsche thought of the Overman as an individual person.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for superman

in philosophy, the superior man, who justifies the existence of the human race. "Superman" is a term significantly used by Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly in Also sprach Zarathustra (1883-85), although it had been employed by J.W. von Goethe and others. This superior man would not be a product of long evolution; rather, he would emerge when any man with superior potential completely masters himself and strikes off conventional Christian "herd morality" to create his own values, which are completely rooted in life on this earth. Nietzsche was not forecasting the brutal superman of the German Nazis, for his goal was a "Caesar with Christ's soul." George Bernard Shaw popularized the term "superman" in his play Man and Superman (1903).

Learn more about superman with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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