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[soo-per-pou-er] /ˈsu pərˌpaʊ ər/
an extremely powerful nation, especially one capable of influencing international events and the acts and policies of less powerful nations.
power greater in scope or magnitude than that which is considered natural or has previously existed.
power, especially mechanical or electric power, on an extremely large scale secured by the linking together of a number of separate power systems, with a view to more efficient and economical generation and distribution.
Origin of superpower
1920-25; super- + power
Related forms
superpowered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for superpower
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bob was himself practically unconscious, but struggled to keep himself and Bill afloat as if under some superpower.

    Bob Hunt in Canada George W. Orton
  • But the Federal Commission's superpower plan as published is only a beginning.

    The Coming of Coal Robert W. Bruere
  • It was communism all over: a superpower buying influence and colluding with corrupt elites to rob their own nations blind.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • It is a coalition of rich countries, led by a superpower, attacking and subduing a regional bully.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • As a result of the survey of this region, engineers have worked out what is called the superpower Plan.

    The Coming of Coal Robert W. Bruere
British Dictionary definitions for superpower


an extremely powerful state, such as the US
extremely high power, esp electrical or mechanical
Derived Forms
superpowered, adjective
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 superpower

1944, in geopolitical sense of "nation with great interest and ability to exert force in worldwide theaters of conflict," from super- + power (n.). The word itself is attested in physical senses from 1922.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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