A superlative is the highest attainable level or degree of something. As an adjective superlative means highest in quality.

When your history test results are superlative, it means you've gotten a perfect score — you've done as well as can be done, if not better than everyone else. There are times, however, when a superlative is an exaggerated expression of praise, as when a movie reviewer gets carried away with compliments and says in January that this is "the best film of the year."

Definitions of superlative
  1. adjective
    highest in quality
    synonyms: greatest, sterling
    of high or superior quality or performance
  2. noun
    the highest level or degree attainable; the highest stage of development
    “so many highest superlatives achieved by man”
    synonyms: acme, elevation, height, meridian, peak, pinnacle, summit, tiptop, top, zenith
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    type of:
    degree, level, point, stage
    a specific identifiable position in a continuum or series or especially in a process
  3. noun
    an exaggerated expression (usually of praise)
    “the critics lavished superlatives on it”
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    type of:
    congratulations, extolment, kudos, praise
    an expression of approval and commendation
  4. noun
    the superlative form of an adjective or adverb
    “`fastest' is the superlative of the adjective `fast'”
    “`least famous' is the superlative degree of the adjective `famous'”
    “`most surely' is the superlative of the adverb `surely'”
    synonyms: superlative degree
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    type of:
    a word that expresses an attribute of something
    a word that modifies something other than a noun
Word Family