Definition: Superpower

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From the prefix super- (borrowed from Latin over, above) + power.


superpower (countable and uncountable, plural superpowers)

  1. A sovereign state with dominant status on the globe and a very advanced military, especially the United States or formerly the Soviet Union.
    The United States has been a superpower for as long as anyone can remember.
  2. (fiction) An extraordinary physical or mental ability, especially possessed by a superhero or supervillain.
    Flight is a common superpower among superheroes such as Superman.
    Zorro is treated by many consumers of fictional media as a superhero despite his complete lack of superpowers.
  3. (mathematics) A tetration; a repeated exponentiation solved from right to left.
    10^^3 in Knuth's up-arrow notation is sometimes called 10 to the superpower of 3, or 10^(10^10) or 10 tetrated to 3.
    I bet most kids who engage in a big number duel on the playground don't think to incorporate superpowers into their game! It sure beats using words that represent nonexistent numbers, like jillion, zillion and gazillion!
  4. Excessive or superior power.

Derived terms

  • superpowerdom
  • superpowerhood


superpower (third-person singular simple present superpowers, present participle superpowering, simple past and past participle superpowered)

  1. To give extraordinary powers to.
    Some people who aren't exactly computer-literate think I can superpower their old Gateway desktop from the late 1990s and make it run at lightning speed with a simple batch file; I'm just a programmer, I can't physically make a CPU faster.


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