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Superlatives

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Superlatives

This page is a varied selection of things that are characterised by ... superlatives.

Incidentally ... "superlative" is one of the most misused words in the English language.  How often do we hear someone say in the media (particularly the sports media), "I'm running out of superlatives ...", when they haven't actually used any superlatives at all? What they invariably mean is that they're running out of terms to imply excellence. You have to wonder if they think a superlative is any word that means something like "super" or "superb".

"Superlative", when used as a noun, refers to the superlative form of an adjective. All adjectives can have three degrees of comparison: positive, comparative, and superlative. For example: the positive form of the adjective "good" is "good"; the comparative form is "better", and the superlative form is "best".

A superlative doesn't necessarily need to denote that something is good. "Worst", "stupidest" and "slowest" are superlatives, as well as "best", "cleverest" and "fastest".

Take a look at the descriptions in the table below: we have "most", "commonest", "first", "largest", "longest", "highest" ... etc., etc.

You can also use "superlative" as an adjective, as in "superlative wisdom". But this is still not what the media morons mean when they say they're running out of superlatives – because they're clearly using the word "superlative" as a noun.

End of lesson ...

At the bottom of the page are a few things where the superlative – in other words, the quality that the named item is famous for – is the answer.

Annual European sporting event with the most spectators Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's commonest pub name Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's (and the world's) first Teletext service Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's first birth control clinic: founded by Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's first crossword Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's first frozen food (10 May 1937, by Smedley's of Wisbech, Cambs) Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's first iron–clad warship Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's first motorway (1958) – now part of the M6 – was a by–pass to Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's first supermarket Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's largest bell – housed in St. Paul's Cathedral Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's (and, according to some sources, Europe's) largest brick–built structure is the railway viaduct in Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's longest escalators (London Underground station) Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's most–visited tourist attraction (fee–charging) Click to show or hide the answer
Butlins' first holiday camp (1936) Click to show or hide the answer
England's highest (sea?) cliffs Click to show or hide the answer
England's highest public house (1,732 feet above sea level) – North Yorkshire Click to show or hide the answer
England's second highest public house (1,690 feet above sea level) – Cheshire Click to show or hide the answer
England's longest railway platform (1990) Click to show or hide the answer
Europe's largest city park Click to show or hide the answer
The first actor to be knighted Click to show or hide the answer
The first Archbishop of Canterbury Click to show or hide the answer
The first ready–to–eat breakfast cereal (US, 1893 – corn flakes 1894) Click to show or hide the answer
The first book ("first major book" – Wikipedia) printed in Europe (1450s) Click to show or hide the answer
The first book printed in English (by William Caxton in Bruges, 1475) Click to show or hide the answer
The first book printed in Britain (by Caxton at Westminster, 1476) Click to show or hide the answer
The first Briton to die in a flying accident Click to show or hide the answer
The first building in Britain to have glass windows was St. Peter's Monastery, in Click to show or hide the answer
The first charge card Click to show or hide the answer
The first Christian martyr Click to show or hide the answer
The first city bombed from the air (pilotless balloons, time fuses) Click to show or hide the answer
The first cotton spinning factory: Cromford, Derbys, 1771. Built by Click to show or hide the answer
The first English martyr Click to show or hide the answer
The first Holy Roman Emperor Click to show or hide the answer
The first human invention to break the sound barrier Click to show or hide the answer
The first iron–clad warship Click to show or hide the answer
The first motor show (1898 – held every two years ever since) Click to show or hide the answer
The first novel to sell one million copies Click to show or hide the answer
The first nuclear submarine Click to show or hide the answer
The first person to ascend into the Stratosphere (51,000 ft, 1931) Click to show or hide the answer
The first person to be awarded the VC (1856, for action in 1854) Click to show or hide the answer
The first person to be run over by a train Click to show or hide the answer
The first person to send a radio signal across the Atlantic (Cornwall to Newfoundland) Click to show or hide the answer
The first person to swim the English Channel (1875) Click to show or hide the answer
The first person to swim the English Channel underwater (US, 1962) Click to show or hide the answer
The first plastic Click to show or hide the answer
The first secretary–General of the United Nations Click to show or hide the answer
The first singer to sell a million copies of a record Click to show or hide the answer
The first sporting outside broadcast on television Click to show or hide the answer
The first sub–four–minute mile Click to show or hide the answer
The first test tube baby Click to show or hide the answer
The first waterproof wristwatch – produced by Rolex since 1926 (many different models) Click to show or hide the answer
France's most common surname Click to show or hide the answer
The Keen Order of Wallerites (founded c. 1900) was the first Click to show or hide the answer
The largest and heaviest thing on land Click to show or hide the answer
The last person to be hanged for treason in Britain Click to show or hide the answer
The last prisoner to be held in the Tower of London Click to show or hide the answer
The last public jousts in England Click to show or hide the answer
The last Viceroy of India Click to show or hide the answer
The last woman to be hanged in Britain Click to show or hide the answer
The most–decorated US serviceman of World War II Click to show or hide the answer
The oldest chocolate bar currently on sale in Britain Click to show or hide the answer
The oldest person to become Poet Laureate Click to show or hide the answer
Old Honesty (1896): the first Click to show or hide the answer
The tallest man ever (Robert Pershing Wadlow, 1918–40) was Click to show or hide the answer
The world's best–selling copyright book Click to show or hide the answer
The world's busiest port (in terms of tonnage handled) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's deepest known cave Click to show or hide the answer
The world's driest desert Click to show or hide the answer
The world's first free library (Manchester, 1653 – now a school of music) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest bell, in the Kremlin (name means Tsar of Bells) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest cut diamond (over 500 carats, in the British Royal Sceptre) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest creature ever Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest civil administrative building houses the parliament of Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest office building Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest library Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest sculpture – in South Dakota – is of Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest sporting venue, by capacity (257,325) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's largest tidal variation (between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the US state of Maine) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's longest canal (China: Beijing to Hangzhou – 1,115 miles / 1,794 km) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's longest frontier (4,000 miles) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's longest pleasure pier Click to show or hide the answer
The world's most common forename Click to show or hide the answer
The world's most commonly grown fruit Click to show or hide the answer
The world's oldest zoo Click to show or hide the answer
The world's tallest building (completed in 2010 – 830 metres, 2,723 feet) Click to show or hide the answer
The world's tallest roller coaster is in Click to show or hide the answer
Youngest person to be awarded a VC Click to show or hide the answer

Waimangu, in New Zealand, is the world's tallest Click to show or hide the answer
The Carolina reaper replaced the Trinidad moruga scorpion, in 2013, as the world's Click to show or hide the answer
Tried out on the Seine by Robert Fulton in 1801: the first Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–18