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a prefix appearing in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “over,” usually implying excess or exaggeration (hyperbole); on this model used, especially as opposed to hypo-, in the formation of compound words (hyperthyroid).
Compare super-.
Greek, representing hypér over, above; cognate with Latin super (see super-); akin to over
Can be confused
hyper-, hypo-. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for hyper-


above, over, or in excess hypercritical
(in medicine) denoting an abnormal excess hyperacidity
indicating that a chemical compound contains a greater than usual amount of an element hyperoxide
Word Origin
from Greek huper over
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 hyper-
from Gk. hyper (prep. and adv.) "over, beyond, overmuch, above measure." As a word by itself, meaning "overexcited," it is attested from 1942, short for hyperactive.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hyper- in Medicine

hyper- pref.

  1. Over; above; beyond: hyperflexion.

  2. Excessive; excessively: hyperhydration.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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hyper- in Science
A prefix that means "excessive" or "excessively," especially in medical terms like hypertension and hyperthyroidism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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