Definition of inferior in English:


Syllabification: in·fe·ri·or
Pronunciation: /inˈfi(ə)rēər


  • 1Lower in rank, status, or quality: schooling in inner-city areas was inferior to that in the rest of the country
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    • Even the angels are inferior to man in status and are asked by God to pay obeisance to him.
    • Traditionally, the combat service support forces have occupied a status seen as somewhat inferior to those of the other two categories.
    • Obviously, since it is shielded from the burden of having to please customers or compete in a real marketplace, its quality will be inferior to paid research.
    second-class, lesser, lower in status, lower-ranking, subordinate, second-fiddle, junior, minor; subservient, lowly, humble, menial, beneath one
  • 1.1Of low standard or quality: inferior goods
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    • The inevitable result will be a diminished standard of living and inferior quality of life for the average American.
    • Although Monaghan did not really test the home team the manager placed more focus on how his team performed and less about the inferior standard of the visitors.
    • Liebowitz and Margolis are skeptical that any convincing claim of path dependent selection of an objectively inferior standard has been established.
    second-rate, substandard, low-quality, low-grade, downmarket, bush-league, unsatisfactory, shoddy, deficient; poor, bad, awful, dreadful, wretched
  • 1.2 Law (Of a court or tribunal) able to have its decisions overturned by a higher court.
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    • One task that it assumed became the supervisory jurisdiction of inferior courts and tribunals.
    • Judicial review is available as a remedy for mistakes of law made by inferior courts and tribunals only.
    • Maybe it does not apply because it is an inferior tribunal, but just assume for the moment it does.
  • 1.3 Economics Denoting goods or services that are in greater demand during a recession than in a boom, e.g., secondhand clothes.
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    • These are referred to as inferior goods and examples in most western countries include rural bus services and household coal.
    • Income effects on attendance were found to be negative, which supports the idea found in previous research of hockey as an inferior good.
    • True inferior goods are not common, but particular goods and services may benefit from some customers who buy more as incomes fall.
  • 2chiefly Anatomy Low or lower in position: ulcers located in the inferior and posterior wall of the duodenum
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    • He underwent an excision of a portion of the anterior temporal lobe and inferior temporal gyrus.
    • The first lumbar may provide the inferior phrenic or middle suprarenal.
    • The lateral part of the anterior commissure traverses the inferior part of the corpus striatum.
  • 2.1(Of a letter, figure, or symbol) written or printed below the line.
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    • Reservation 2: Nunn points out that inferior lines have, for the most part, been left out of this book.
    • The character may also have an attached superior or inferior figure.
    • Differences between the values indicated by the same inferior letter are significant at the 5% level.
  • 2.2 Botany (Of the ovary of a flower) situated below the sepals and enclosed in the receptacle.
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    • Each disc flower is surrounded by a sharp-pointed, chaffy bract and consists of a basal inferior ovary, two pappus scales, and a tubular corolla.
    • Four sepals are fused to form a long slender floral tube with an inferior ovary.
    • The members of subgen. Bomarea s.str. have an inferior ovary and a dehiscent capsule.


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  • 1A person lower than another in rank, status, or ability: her social and intellectual inferiors
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    • Maintain social status by winning at least as much as your inferiors and climb the ranks by winning more than your superiors.
    • Furthermore, how much one had to share with guests and followers seems to have been a function of the number of social inferiors within one's orbit.
    • It is most evident when he refers to the middle class - especially those members of it who, through idealism or voyeurism, decided to slum it with their social inferiors.
    subordinate, junior, underling, minion, menial, peon
  • 2 Printing An inferior letter, figure, or symbol.
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    • This mark indicates that the letter is superior to an inferior.



sense 2 of the adjective.
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  • The mass was located posterior to the left colon, extending medially to the root of the mesentery, superiorly to the transverse colon, and inferiorly it occupied the entire pelvis.
  • B3 supplies the anterior segment and like B2, has a generally horizontal course but proceeds somewhat inferiorly from its origin.
  • The posterior segment extends from the right hilum, posteriorly and inferiorly and forms the posterior half of the interlobar surface relating to the right major fissure.


late Middle English (sense 2 of the adjective): from Latin, comparative of inferus 'low'.

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