He hates me now, so I’m pretty sure that I'm even more inferior to him than a nodding acquaintance.
Because the hiragana ends with an う sound, you know this word is a verb. The kanji itself means inferiority and the verb vocab version is to be inferior to.
When thinking about cars, an automatic (おと) car is inferior to a manual car. Sure, manual is harder, but way more interesting to drive.