Definition of superordinate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌsuːpərˈɔːdɪnət/


1A thing that represents a superior order or category within a system of classification: a pair of compatibles must have a common superordinate
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  • In terms of language, sexism refers to a bias through which patterns and references of male usage are taken to be normative, superordinate, and positive and those of women are taken to be deviant, subordinate, and negative.
1.1 Linguistics A word whose meaning includes the meaning of one or more other words: ‘bird’ is the superordinate of ‘canary
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  • When defining noun-concepts, children appealed to superordinates less frequently than adults, and almost never mentioned superordinates when defining verbs.
  • If it does, only subject NPs which bear the feature [+ honorific] can be a potential antecedent for the reflexive; if it does not, any type of superordinate subject NP can be a potential binder.
2A person of superior rank or status: superordinates can indulge in a casualness that subordinates are not permitted
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  • A second approach to resolving the dilemma is creating accountability to an outside party rather than to an employee's superordinates.
  • One approach is creating a culture in which accountability to organizational superordinates feels like an opportunity to contribute rather than a threatening event.
  • Rhetorically speaking, the willful silence of the superordinate can serve as a potent expression of institutional authority and discipline.


Superior in rank or status: senior staff’s superordinate position
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  • Conflict between contending groups may be resolved, lessened, or contained through the use of ‘medical diplomacy’ or health oriented superordinate goals
  • In hierarchies it reinforces the subordinate - superordinate relations.
  • Denial of Charter rights to one person, even with that person's express consent, may affect others, diminishing the superordinate social values we cherish and the integrity of the judicial process.


Early 17th century: from super- 'above', on the pattern of subordinate.

Words that rhyme with superordinate

coordinate, inordinate, subordinate

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: super|ordin¦ate

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