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What is the meaning of "uber-"?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The German word über is a cognate of the Greek ύπερ and Latin super.

In the German language it exists as preposition, prefix, adverb and translates on its own. It has many translations, and indicates a state or action involving increased elevation or quantity in the physical sense, or superiority or excess in the abstract (dictionary). It is defined by context or compounds, such as, but not limited to over, about, around, among, by, via, through,

Some examples

übertragen - to transfer, to hand over
übernehmen - to take over
überkommen - to overcome
übertreiben - to exaggerate
überhaupt - at all
überall - anywhere
überfüllt - overcrowded
über 10 Sekunde - more than 10 seconds (misused as "in ten seconds...")

In English, usually slang, denotes a superlative, excessive or extreme, translating as such (e.g. super, more than any). Words such as superman derived from the German word.

On a side note. Latin also knows ubertas and uber. The former translates as fertile growth, abundance, fruitfulness. In English we know it as uberty. Ubertas is derived from the Latin adjective uber (fertile) and originated as noun meaning breast, udder.

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+1, also note the ver in Vercingetorix seems to be a Celtic cognate (with rix cognate to rex, rikjs, ri). – Alain Pannetier Φ May 10 '11 at 19:46

über in german means over or above. Like there might be an overlord... someone above other lords. The slang of the internet has made this become more like "super". It generally means that whatever it is modifying is above others.

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Actually, as stated in my answer, it can also mean actual elevation, rather than the abstract. I think you are referring to the better-known term Übermensch, a name Nietsche, F. (1885) used for the higher state to which he felt men might aspire. Also by the internet, did you mean games - because everything I know and can find on the background in the English language seems to indicate computer games in particular (and television). – Derk-Jan Karrenbeld May 10 '11 at 11:03
ubergeek is common, and not particularly games-related – TimLymington Jun 20 '11 at 19:43

As reported by the NOAD uber is a word used to denote an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing, as in uberbabe, or uberregulator.

The word has origin from the German über (super).

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It means over in geman, not super. – UpTheCreek May 10 '11 at 8:59
@UpTheCreek: "Super" means "over" in English too. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 May 10 '11 at 12:59
@Mr.ShinyAndNew there is no single meaning or the German über, the english super- is only a prefix, not a noun. – Derk-Jan Karrenbeld May 10 '11 at 19:49
@Derk-Jan: I'm not sure what you mean. Kiamlaluno said that the English word "uber" comes from the German word "über", which he translated as "super". UpTheCreek was saying that it doesn't mean "super", it means "over", but "super" also means "over". Yes, it's used as a prefix. Is that a problem? Does that make kiamlaluno wrong? – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 May 11 '11 at 2:15
@Mr.ShinyAndNew Super only means over as a prefix. über doesn't need to be a prefix. Therefore, the translation to solely super is wrong. – Derk-Jan Karrenbeld May 11 '11 at 10:44

uber means


Super; high-level; high-ranking



Very; super

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Wow, I think you're all missing the point.

Yes, uber is just German for "over", but in 1883, Nietzsche coined the word Übermensch (usually translated as "superman", long before Clark Kent's alter-ego hit the newsstands) and then some other Germans, shall we say, overdid the idea, applying it not to the superior individual but to what they were pleased to call the Herrenvolk, the master race. Since then, the uber- prefix has had rather a nasty edge, bringing the connotation of something that by holding itself superior to mankind, has lost its humanity.

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Nietzsche actually applied it to the Aryan race. Also, do you have a reference to your notion that is has a nasty edge? – Derk-Jan Karrenbeld May 10 '11 at 19:51

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