The original meaning of the word superior was "above." In the concept of the universe that was prevelant prior to the Copernican revolution, when Earth was thought to be the stable center around which every other celestial body revolved, the orbits of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were considered to be "above" the orbit of the Sun. These three planets were thus referred to as the superior planets. The evaluative connotations of the term have caused this expression to be dropped in favor of outer planets.
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