Definition of superordinate in English:


Pronunciation /ˌso͞opərˈôrd(ə)nət/ /ˌsupərˈɔrd(ə)nət/


  • 1A thing that represents a superior order or category within a system of classification.

    ‘a pair of compatibles must have a common superordinate’
    • ‘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. 1.1A person who has authority over or control of another within an organization.
      ‘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.’
    2. 1.2Linguistics A word whose meaning includes the meaning of one or more other words.
      ‘“bird” is the superordinate of “canary.”’
      • ‘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.’


  • Superior in status.

    ‘senior staff's superordinate position’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘More importantly, there is also a need to unite the management team, perhaps through their buy-in of a superordinate goal.’
    • ‘In the case before me, the parties agree that public interest is a superordinate consideration.’


Early 17th century from super-‘above’, on the pattern of subordinate.