sunroof (n.) Look up sunroof at
of a car, by 1957, from sun (n.) + roof (n.). Originally on European models.
sunscreen (n.) Look up sunscreen at
1738 as an object to block the sun's rays, from sun (n.) + screen (n.). As a type of lotion applied to the skin, by 1954.
sunset (n.) Look up sunset at
late 14c., from sun (n.) + set (v.). Perhaps from a Middle English subjunctive such as before the sun set. Old English had sunnansetlgong "sunset," while sunset meant "west." Figurative use from c. 1600. To ride off into the sunset (1963) is from the stereotypical ending of cowboy movies.
sunshade (n.) Look up sunshade at
1842, from sun (n.) + shade (n.). Old English had sunsceadu "veil."
sunshine (n.) Look up sunshine at
mid-13c., from sun (n.) + shine (n.). Old English had sunnanscima "sunshine;" while sunscin meant "a mirror, speculum." Meaning "happy person who brightens the lives of others" is from 1942. Sunshine law in reference to U.S. open-meeting legislation is recorded from 1972, from the notion of shining the light of public access on deliberations formerly held behind closed doors. Related: Sunshiny.
sunspot (n.) Look up sunspot at
also sun-spot, 1849, in astronomy, from sun (n.) + spot (n.). Earlier "a spot on the skin caused by exposure to the sun" (1818).
sunstroke (n.) Look up sunstroke at
1807, from sun (n.) + stroke (n.); translating French coup de soleil. Related: Sun-stricken; sunstruck.
suntan (v.) Look up suntan at
also sun-tan, 1821, from sun (n.) + tan (v.). Related: Suntanned; suntanning. As a noun from 1888. Originally an indication of outdoor laboring; considered as an enhancement to beauty or proof of idleness from 1920s: F.L. Allen, chronicler of the decade ("Only Yesterday"), notes 1929 as the year that "on the sands of a thousand American beaches, girls pulled down the shoulder-straps of their bathing suits to acquire fashionably tanned backs ...."
sup (v.1) Look up sup at
"eat the evening meal," c. 1300, from Old French super, soper "dine, sup, dip bread in soup or wine, sop up" (Modern French souper), which probably is from soupe "broth" (see soup), until recently still the traditional evening meal of French workers.
sup (v.2) Look up sup at
"to sip, to take into the mouth with the lips," Old English supan (West Saxon), suppan, supian (Northumbrian) "to sip, taste, drink, swallow" (strong verb, past tense seap, past participle sopen), from Proto-Germanic *supanan (source also of Old Norse supa "to sip, drink," Middle Low German supen, Dutch zuipen "to drink, tipple," Old High German sufan, German saufen "to drink, booze"), from PIE *sub-, possibly an extended form of root *seue- (2) "to take liquid" (source also of Sanskrit sunoti "presses out juice," soma; Avestan haoma, Persian hom "juice;" Greek huetos "rain," huein "to rain;" Latin sugere "to suck," succus "juice, sap;" Lithuanian sula "flowing sap;" Old Church Slavonic soku "sap," susati "suck;" Middle Irish suth "sap;" Old English seaw "sap").
sup- Look up sup- at
assimilated form of sub- before -p-.
super (adj.) Look up super at
"first-rate, excellent," 1837, from prefix in superfine (1680s), denoting "highest grade of goods," from Latin super "above, over, beyond" (see super-). Extended usage as a general term of approval is 1895 slang, revived by 1967. Rhyming reduplication form super-duper first attested 1940. Super Bowl attested from 1966; Super Glue from 1975; as a verb by 1983.
super- Look up super- at
word-forming element meaning "above, over, beyond," from Latin super (adverb and preposition) "above, over, on the top (of), beyond, besides, in addition to," from *(s)uper-, variant form of PIE root *uper "over." In English words from Old French, it appears as sur-. The primary sense seems to have shifted over time from usually meaning "beyond" to usually meaning "very much," which can be contradictory. E.g. supersexual, which is attested from 1895 as "transcending sexuality," from 1968 as "very sexual."
super-ego (n.) Look up super-ego at
also superego, "that part of the psyche which controls the impulses of the id," 1924, as a translation of German über-Ich; see super- and ego.
superable (adj.) Look up superable at
"surmountable," 1620s, from Latin superabilis "that may be overcome," from superare "to overcome, surmount, go over, rise above," from super "over" (from PIE root *uper "over") + -abilis (see -able). The negative formation insuperable is older and more common and superable may be a back-formation from it.
superabundance (n.) Look up superabundance at
early 15c., superaboundance, from Late Latin superabundantia, from present participle stem of Latin superabundare, from super (see super-) + abundare (see abound). Related: Superabundant; superabound.
superannuate (v.) Look up superannuate at
1640s, "render obsolete," back-formation from superannuated. Meaning "impair or disqualify by old age" is from 1690s. Related: Superannuating.
superannuated (adj.) Look up superannuated at
1630s, "obsolete, out of date;" 1740, "retired on account of old age," from Modern Latin superannuatus, alteration (perhaps by influence of annual) of Medieval Latin superannatus (which meant "more than a year old" and was used of cattle), from Latin super "beyond, over" (see super-) + annus "year" (see annual (adj.)). Earlier in same sense was superannate (c. 1600), from Medieval Latin superannatus. Compare French suranner.
superannuation (n.) Look up superannuation at
1650s, noun of action from superannuate.
superb (adj.) Look up superb at
1540s, "noble, magnificent" (of buildings, etc.), from Latin superbus "grand, proud, splendid; haughty, vain, insolent," from super "above, over" (from PIE root *uper "over"). The second element perhaps is from PIE root *bheue- "to be." General sense of "very fine" developed by 1729. Related: Superbious (c. 1500); superbly.
supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Look up supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at
from song in 1964 Disney movie version of "Mary Poppins;" subject of a lawsuit based on earlier song title "Supercalafajalistickexpialadojus" (1949), but other versions of the word also were in circulation.
supercede (v.) Look up supercede at
see supersede. Related: Superceded; superceding.
supercharge (v.) Look up supercharge at
1919, originally of internal combustion engines, from super- + charge (v.). Related: Supercharged (1876); supercharger; supercharging.
superciliary (adj.) Look up superciliary at
1732, from Modern Latin superciliaris, from supercilium (see supercilious).
supercilious (adj.) Look up supercilious at
1520s, "lofty with pride, haughtily contemptuous," from Latin superciliosus "haughty, arrogant," from supercilium "haughty demeanor, pride," literally "eyebrow" (via notion of raising the eyebrow to express haughtiness), from super "above" (see super-) + second element akin to cilium "eyelid," related to celare "to cover, hide," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save."
Since cilium is more recent than supercilium, the former can be interpreted as a back-formation to the latter .... If indeed derived from the root *kel- 'to hide', we must still assume that a noun *kilium 'eyelid' existed, since the eyelid can 'hide' the eye, whereas the eyebrow does not have such a function. Thus, supercilium may originally have meant 'what is above the cilium'. [Michiel de Vaan, "Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages," Leiden, 2008]
Related: Superciliously; superciliousness.
supercilium (n.) Look up supercilium at
the eyebrow, 1670s, from Latin supercilium "an eyebrow; a ridge, summit;" figuratively "haughtiness, arrogance, pride" (see supercilious).
supercomputer (n.) Look up supercomputer at
1966, from super- + computer.
superconductor (n.) Look up superconductor at
1913, translation of Dutch suprageleider, coined by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1853-1926). See super- + conductor.
supercontinent (n.) Look up supercontinent at
1963, from super- + continent (n.).
supererogation (n.) Look up supererogation at
1520s, "performance of more than duty requires," in Catholic theology, from Late Latin supererogationem (nominative supererogatio) "a payment in addition," noun of action from past participle stem of supererogare "pay or do additionally," from Latin super "above, over" (see super-) + erogare "pay out," from ex "out" (see ex-) + rogare "ask, request," apparently a figurative use of a PIE verb meaning literally "to stretch out (the hand)," from root *reg- "move in a straight line."
supererogatory (adj.) Look up supererogatory at
1590s, from Medieval Latin supererogatorius, from supererogat-, stem of supererogare "pay or do additionally" (see supererogation).
superficial (adj.) Look up superficial at
late 14c., in anatomical and mathematical uses, "of or relating to a surface," from Late Latin superficialis "of or pertaining to the surface," from superficies "surface, upper side, top," from super "above, over" (see super-) + facies "form, face" (see face (n.)). Meaning "not deep, without thorough understanding, cursory, comprehending only what is apparent or obvious" (of perceptions, thoughts, etc.) first recorded early 15c. (implied in superficially "not thoroughly").
superficiality (n.) Look up superficiality at
1520s, from superficial + -ity.
superfluity (n.) Look up superfluity at
late 14c., from Old French superfluite "excess" (12c.), from Medieval Latin superfluitatem (nominative superfluitas), from superfluus (see superfluous).
superfluous (adj.) Look up superfluous at
early 15c. (earlier superflue, late 14c.), from Latin superfluus "unnecessary," literally "overflowing, running over," from superfluere "to overflow," from super "over" (see super-) + fluere "to flow" (see fluent). Related: Superfluously; superfluousness.
superfly (adj.) Look up superfly at
"excellent, superior," 1971, originally African-American vernacular, from super- + slang sense of fly (adj.).
supergiant (n.) Look up supergiant at
1927, from super- + giant (n.).
superheat (v.) Look up superheat at
1827 (implied in superheated) "to heat to a very high degree," specifically of steam until it resembles a perfect gas, from super- + heat (v.). Related: Superheating.
superhero (n.) Look up superhero at
1908 (in a translation of Nietzsche), from super- + hero. Used in 1930 of Tarzan; modern use is from 1960s.
superhighway (n.) Look up superhighway at
1921, from super- + highway.
superhuman (adj.) Look up superhuman at
1630s, from Medieval Latin superhumanus; see super- + human (adj.). In early use often "divine," since 19c. typically "above the powers or nature of man." Related: Superhumanly.
superimpose (v.) Look up superimpose at
1787, back-formation from superimposition (1680s), or from super- + impose. Compare Latin superimponere "to put upon, place over, place above." Related: Superimposed; superimposing.
superintend (v.) Look up superintend at
"to have charge and direction of," 1610s, from Church Latin superintendere "to oversee" (see superintendent). Related: Superintended; superintending.
superintendence (n.) Look up superintendence at
"act of superintending," c. 1600; see superintendent + -ence, or from Latin superintendens. Related: Superintendency.
superintendent (n.) Look up superintendent at
1550s, originally an ecclesiastical word meaning "bishop" or "minister who supervises churches within a district" (ultimately a loan-translation of Greek episkopos "overseer"), from Medieval Latin superintendentem (nominative superintendens), present participle of Late Latin superintendere "oversee," from Latin super "above" (see super-) + intendere "turn one's attention to, direct" (see intend). Famously used by 16c. radical Protestants in place of bishop, which to them was tainted by Papacy.
[Martinists] studie to pull downe Bishopps, and set vp Superintendents, which is nothing else, but to raze out good Greeke, & enterline bad Latine. [Lyly, "Pappe with an Hatchet," 1589]
The general sense of "a person who has charge of some business" is first recorded 1580s. Meaning "janitor, custodian" is from c. 1935. Shortened form super first attested 1857, especially at first of overseers of sheep ranches in Australia. As an adjective meaning "superintending," from 1590s.
superior (n.) Look up superior at
early 15c., from Latin superior (see superior (adj.)), used in Medieval Latin with a noun sense of "one higher, a superior."
superior (adj.) Look up superior at
late 14c., "higher in position," from Old French superior "higher, upper" (Modern French superieur), from Latin superiorem (nominative superior) "higher," comparative of superus "situated above, upper," from super "above, over" (from PIE root *uper "over").

Meaning "higher in rank or dignity" is attested from late 15c.; sense of "of a higher nature or character" is attested from 1530s. Original sense was preserved more strongly in French (as in les étages supérieur "the upper stories"), and in Lake Superior, a loan-translation of French Lac Supérieur, literally "upper lake" (at 600 feet above sea-level it has the highest surface elevation of the five Great Lakes and is the furthest north).
Surprise a person of the class that is supposed to keep servants cleaning his own boots, & either he will go on with the job while he talks to you, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, or else he will explain that the bootboy or scullery-maid is ill & give you to understand that he is, despite appearances, superior to boot-cleaning. If he takes the second course, you conclude that he is not superior to it; if the first, that perhaps he is. [Fowler]
superiority (n.) Look up superiority at
late 15c., from superior (adj.) + -ity, or directly from Medieval Latin superioritatem (nominative superioritas), from superior.
superlative (adj.) Look up superlative at
late 14c., from Old French superlatif "absolute, highest; powerful; best" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin superlativus "extravagant, exaggerated, hyperbolic," from Latin superlatus "exaggerated" (used as past participle of superferre "carry over or beyond"), from super "beyond" (see super-) + lat- "carry," from *tlat-, past participle stem of tollere "to take away" (see extol). Related: Superlatively; superlativeness.

The noun is attested from 1520s, originally in the grammatical sense, "a word in the superlative;" hence "exaggerated language" (1590s).
superman (n.) Look up superman at
1903, coined by George Bernard Shaw to translate German Übermensch, "highly evolved human being that transcends good and evil," from "Thus Spake Zarathustra" (1883-91), by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). First used in German by Hermann Rab (1520s), and also used by Herder and Goethe. Translated as overman (1895) and beyond-man (1896) before Shaw got it right in his play title "Man and Superman" (1903). Application to comic strip hero is from 1938.
So was created ... Superman! champion of the oppressed, the physical marvel who had sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need! ["Action Comics," June 1, 1938]