noun pl. supermen
Origin: calque < Ger übermensch (< über, over + mensch, person), Nietzsche's term
See superman in American Heritage Dictionary 4
Origin: Translation of German Übermensch
Origin: : über-, super-
Origin: + Mensch, man. Word History: Superman, the all-American 20th-century comic-book hero, takes his name from the 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's term for the ideal superior man, which is Übermensch in German. Übermensch might also have been translated Overman or Beyondman, but a work by George Bernard Shaw published in 1903 helped to established the English term for Nietzsche's concept as superman. Such a term comes to us through a process called loan translation, or calque formation, whereby the semantic components of a word or phrase in one language are translated literally into their equivalents in another language. German Übermensch is made up of über-, “over, beyond, super-,” and Mensch, “man.” We also find overman and beyondman as calques for the word Übermensch, but they did not take root.
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