Share this entry

Share this page

superstructure

Syllabification: su·per·struc·ture
Pronunciation: /ˈso͞opərˌstrək(t)SHər
 
/

Definition of superstructure in English:

noun

1A structure built on top of something else.
Example sentences
  • Despite our lack of information about the superstructures of the nearby tombs (lining the Via Labicana and adjacent to Eurysaces' monument), we know that Eurysaces' tomb had to contend with at least one of his neighbors.
  • Add to this the fact that superstructures can be altered or replaced entirely, allowing a mask to be updated while keeping the same substructure.
  • The British style is more careful and thorough, with the foundation work in sources revealed as proudly as any part of the superstructure.
1.1The parts of a ship, other than masts and rigging, built above its hull and main deck.
Example sentences
  • The 4,600t ship will have five decks and two superstructures.
  • Up close are jungle-top toucans, and perhaps a sloth; further away, ship superstructures appear to part the steaming foliage as they glide slowly along the canal.
  • Like the boats in all these paintings, it's just a hull, without masts or any kind of superstructure, adrift and empty, a kind of ghost ship.
1.2The part of a building above its foundations.
Example sentences
  • In plan, the superstructure of the building consists of three zones.
  • The building comprises 18 superstructure stories and two basement levels.
  • The base, below ground level, is in-situ concrete, but the superstructure above the cross-aisle is prefabricated.
1.3A concept or idea based on others.
Example sentences
  • Certainly the dismantling of received superstructures of knowledge, driven by the engines of critique and systematic skepticism, suggests that these days almost anything goes.
1.4(In Marxist theory) the institutions and culture considered to result from or reflect the economic system underlying a society.
Example sentences
  • How far do the demands of the capitalist economy shape the political and cultural superstructure?
  • The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society - the real foundation, on which rise legal and political superstructures and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.
  • A socialist critic who focuses on the reciprocity between infrastructure and superstructure would argue back that modes of cultural representation cannot but be saturated with the material base of the society.

Derivatives

superstructural

1
Pronunciation: /ˌso͞opərˈstrəkCHərəl/
adjective
Example sentences
  • In one of his many well-observed insights Marx pointed out that superstructural ideas often have a tendency to lag behind developments in the economic base of any society under examination.
  • This shows an apparently round open-air structure with a superstructural hut like that at the Swan, but artistic distortion of proportion (especially height) limits this picture's usefulness concerning the Theatre's size.
  • Globalisation is thus often defined as a relationship between material capability and the superstructural institutionalisation that has been constructed to realise this capability.

Definition of superstructure in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtenəbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure