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super- +‎ brat

The term came into popular usage around 1979 when the British press branded the young American tennis star John McEnroe "Superbrat", referring to McEnroe's verbal and physical actions in anger when a line call went against him.


superbrat (plural superbrats)

  1. (informal, chiefly derogatory) A bratty superstar, especially one who plays professional sport.
    • 1979, The New Yorker[1], volume 55, page 126:
      ...McEnroe's behavior was so outrageous that the British press dubbed him Superbrat and went at him en masse.
    • 1990, Una-Mary Parker, Veil of Secrets
      How, she asked herself, could a mature man of such enormous talent sink to the level of behaving like a superbrat?
    • 2006, Buzz Bissinger, Three Nights in August
      In the off-season, the Cardinals looked on like envious children as the superbrats made the multimillion-dollar moves that still define the game...