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Using the Prefix 'Super-'

Meanings Similar to 'Super-' or 'Over-' in English

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The Spanish prefix super- is a cognate of the English prefix "super" and is used in much the same way. Like other Spanish prefixes, it is placed in front of other words without the use of a hyphen.

Most commonly, super- is used with words to indicate that something is what it is to a greater degree than is usual. A few examples:

  • superdotado — highly gifted
  • supergoma — superglue
  • superhéroe — superhero
  • superfino — superfine
  • superinteligente — especially intelligent
  • supermercado — supermarket
  • superordenador — supercomputer

Super- can also be used to indicate an excess, which in some cases is translated by the English "over-":

  • la superabundancia — overabundance
  • superávit — surplus
  • superpoblación — overcrowding
  • superproducción — overproduction
  • supersónico — over the speed of sound

One uncommon meaning of super- is to mean "physically above." Perhaps the most common word using that meaning is superestructura, which, as a construction term, can refer to the part of a building that is above floor level. Also, supermaxilar refers to the upper jaw.

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