"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[suh-pur-luh-tiv, soo-] /səˈpɜr lə tɪv, sʊ-/
of the highest kind, quality, or order; surpassing all else or others; supreme; extreme:
superlative wisdom.
Grammar. of, relating 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).
being more than is proper or normal; exaggerated in language or style.
a superlative person or thing.
the utmost degree; acme.
  1. the superlative degree.
  2. a form in the superlative.
Origin of superlative
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
Related forms
superlatively, adverb
superlativeness, noun
unsuperlative, adjective
unsuperlatively, adverb
unsuperlativeness, noun
1. surpassing, excellent, magnificent, preeminent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for superlative
  • 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.
  • The wine list is superlative, and while many bottles exceed ponderable prices, there are a number of deals to be had.
  • Whichever superlative you choose to describe the area, there's no questioning its draw for surfers.
  • Lastly, superlative journalistic news reporting is supported by indepth knowledge background.
British Dictionary definitions for superlative


of outstanding quality, degree, etc; supreme
(grammar) 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 Compare positive (sense 10), comparative (sense 3)
(of language or style) excessive; exaggerated
a thing that excels all others or is of the highest quality
(grammar) the superlative form of an adjective
the highest degree; peak
Derived Forms
superlatively, adverb
superlativeness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French superlatif, via Late Latin from Latin superlātus extravagant, from superferre to carry beyond, from super- + ferre to bear
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for superlative

late 14c., from Old French superlatif (13c.), from Late Latin superlativus "exaggerated, superlative," from Latin superlatus "exaggerated" (used as past participle of superferre "carry over or beyond"), from super "beyond" (see super-) + lat- "carry," from *tlat-, past participle stem of tollere "to take away" (see extol). The noun is attested from 1520s, originally in the grammatical sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
superlative in Culture

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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for superlative

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for superlative

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with superlative