superlative

[suh-pur-luh-tiv, soo-]
adjective
1.
of the highest kind, quality, or order; surpassing all else or others; supreme; extreme: superlative wisdom.
2.
Grammar. of, pertaining to, or noting the highest degree of the comparison of adjectives and adverbs, as smallest, best, and most carefully, the superlative forms of small, good, and carefully. Compare comparative ( def 4 ), positive ( def 20 ).
3.
being more than is proper or normal; exaggerated in language or style.
noun
4.
a superlative person or thing.
5.
the utmost degree; acme.
6.
Grammar.
a.
the superlative degree.
b.
a form in the superlative.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin superlātīvus, equivalent to Latin superlāt(us) hyperbolical (super- super- + -lātus, suppletive past participle of ferre to bear1) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English superlatif < Old French < Late Latin, as above

superlatively, adverb
superlativeness, noun
unsuperlative, adjective
unsuperlatively, adverb
unsuperlativeness, noun


1. surpassing, excellent, magnificent, preeminent.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
superlative (suːˈpɜːlətɪv)
 
adj
1.  of outstanding quality, degree, etc; supreme
2.  grammar positive Compare comparative denoting the form of an adjective or adverb that expresses the highest or a very high degree of quality. In English the superlative degree is usually marked by the suffix -est or the word most, as in loudest or most loudly
3.  (of language or style) excessive; exaggerated
 
n
4.  a thing that excels all others or is of the highest quality
5.  grammar the superlative form of an adjective
6.  the highest degree; peak
 
[C14: from Old French superlatif, via Late Latin from Latin superlātus extravagant, from superferre to carry beyond, from super- + ferre to bear]
 
su'perlatively
 
adv
 
su'perlativeness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

superlative
late 14c., from O.Fr. superlatif (13c.), from L.L. superlativus "exaggerated, superlative," from L. superlatus "exaggerated" (used as pp. of superferre "carry over or beyond"), from super "beyond" (see super-) + lat- "carry," from *tlat-, pp. stem of tollere "to take away"
(see extol). The noun is attested from 1530, originally in the grammatical sense.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

superlative definition


The form of an adjective indicating the greatest degree of the quality that the adjective describes. Best is the superlative form of good; fastest is the superlative form of fast; most charming is the superlative form of charming. The usual superlative takes the ending -est. (Compare comparative.)

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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Example sentences
The forms of politeness universally express benevolence in superlative degrees.
But in order to enjoy that superlative fit, you'll have to measure, and
  carefully at that.
And after a superlative season we're still no closer to any happy endings.
So please don't write to us to say that we're neglecting the latest weather
  superlative.
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