At some point as the 20th century progressed, the prefix super- (see node) broke away to become an independent word which eventually came to mean essentially the same thing as "good" or "neato" or "cool". Typical usage would be something like "That's super!". My personal theory-- although maybe we should ask William Safire or something-- is that we can blame this particular usage on Superman. What i would guess is that your average colloquial person saw Superman and his Super-powers and Super-strength and Super x ray vision, and knowing nothing of latin word roots began to simply associate "super" in their minds with "powerful". This is, of course, just a guess, and i'm probably wrong. all that is certain is that at some point after Webster 1913, the usage of super became not only colloquial, but often downright idiotically irritating, with the problem reaching its horrific peak when, at some point in the 50s, some horribly evil bastard decided to contort "super" into the more extreme and completely horrific "super-duper", promptly causing the english language to completely lose what tiny amount of dignity it had left. As of this writing "super" has returned to its proper place as being a prefix meaning "greater than or beyond", although as a result of that whole thing with the 50s it is generally treated as a separate word rather than a prefix-- i.e. super wal-mart, or would you like me to super size that extra value meal?

The japanese have taken on "super" as one of those english words they have completely obsessed with, tacking it onto words and phrases in all kinds of crazy places, some of which upon examination make no sense. The Japanese have started doing that kind of thing for some reason, integrating tiny chunks of english not because of any kind of osmosis or cultural imperialism is taking place, but just because it sounds weird. Like, according to this book on japanese slang that this guy i know was reading, it is now common for japanese schoolgirls (who don't speak english) to use "supa eilien" (pronounced like that) as an insult. "Super Alien"? What? Do they know what they're saying? The Japanese usage of super, however, is generally the "correct" one, even when it seems oddly unnecessary (Super Nintendo, Super Seya-jin, Super Catgirl Nuku Nuku, super deformed, etc) and at least partly as a result of their adoption of the word (and the fact that people think that things that seem japanese and bizarre are cool), the word "super" has been dragged back from its gimpy horrific 50s stint as an adjective to become a powerful prefix again, one with the power to bestow instant bizarre kitzch powers onto damn near anything. (See Super Furry Animals, Super Tensile Solids, superbad, Soy super bien soy super super bien soy bien bien super bien bien bien super super, etc.)

In Objective C, "super" is the name of any given object's superclass. It's addressed as a semi-real "object", and is kind of companion to the self object; in fact, super is self, with the difference that any methods called within super will be executed as defined by the parent class rather than as defined by the current class. Super is very important; if you overload methods in a child object, you must call the same method within super in order for the parent implementation to be run-- objc will not do it for you. C++ automatically calls the parent implementation of an inherited function after the overloaded version is run; objc, however, requires the programmer to call the parent's method explicitly, and gives her the option of doing so whenever in the overloaded method she wants.

So in important methods like init, you get just this kind of chain where each layer of an object's inheritance peels back, each implementation of (for example) - init ending by returning [super init]; and thus passing back the init message up the class hierarchy until NSObject is reached.