Definition of inferior in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌinˈfirēər/


1Lower in rank, status, or quality: schooling in inner-city areas was inferior to that in the rest of the country
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
informal crummy, scuzzy, rotten, lousy, third-rate, tinpot, rinky-dink, low-rent
1.2 Law (Of a court or tribunal) able to have its decisions overturned by a higher court.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.


1A person lower than another in rank, status, or ability: her social and intellectual inferiors
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • This mark indicates that the letter is superior to an inferior.



Pronunciation: /inˈfirēərlē/
sense 2 of the adjective.
Example sentences
  • 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'.

Words that rhyme with inferior

Algeria, anterior, bacteria, Bashkiria, cafeteria, criteria, cryptomeria, diphtheria, exterior, hysteria, Iberia, interior, Liberia, listeria, Nigeria, posterior, Siberia, superior, ulterior, wisteria

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·fe·ri·or

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