What does supernumerary mean?

Definitions for supernumerary
ˌsu pərˈnu məˌrɛr i, -ˈnyu-su·per·nu·mer·a·ry

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word supernumerary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. supernumerarynoun

    a person serving no apparent function

    "reducing staff is difficult because our employees include no supernumeraries"

  2. supernumerary, spear carrier, extraadjective

    a minor actor in crowd scenes

  3. excess, extra, redundant, spare, supererogatory, superfluous, supernumerary, surplusadjective

    more than is needed, desired, or required

    "trying to lose excess weight"; "found some extra change lying on the dresser"; "yet another book on heraldry might be thought redundant"; "skills made redundant by technological advance"; "sleeping in the spare room"; "supernumerary ornamentation"; "it was supererogatory of her to gloat"; "delete superfluous (or unnecessary) words"; "extra ribs as well as other supernumerary internal parts"; "surplus cheese distributed to the needy"


  1. supernumerarynoun

    A civil designation for somebody who works in a group, association or public office, without forming part of the regular staff; those distinguished from numerary. (For example, supernumerary judges are those who help the regular judges when there is a surplus amount of work.)

  2. supernumerarynoun

    An extra or walk-on in a film or play; spear-carrier.

  3. supernumeraryadjective

    Extra; beyond the standard or prescribed amount.

  4. supernumeraryadjective

    Greater in number than.

  5. supernumeraryadjective

    Beyond what is necessary.

  6. Etymology: From the Late Latin, from +, accusative of.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Supernumeraryadjective

    Being above a stated, a necessary, an usual, or a round number.

    Etymology: supernumeraire, Fr super and numerus, Lat.

    Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
    To my just number found! John Milton, Paradise Lost.

    In sixty three years there may be lost eighteen days, omitting the intercalation of one day every fourth year, allowed for this quadrant or six hours supernumerary. Brown.

    The odd or supernumerary six hours are not accounted in the three years after the leap year. William Holder.

    The produce of this tax is adequate to the services for which it is designed, and the additional tax is proportioned to the supernumerary expence this year. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

    Antiochus Eupator began to augment his fleet; but the Roman senate ordered his supernumerary vessels to be burnt. John Arbuthnot, on Coins.

    A supernumerary canon is one who does not receive any of the profits or emoluments of the church, but only lives and serves there on a future expectation of some prebend. John Ayliffe.


  1. supernumerary

    Supernumerary generally refers to something that is in addition to the usual or expected number or amount. It can refer to an extra or surplus item, person, or position that exceeds the required or regular quantity.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Supernumeraryadjective

    exceeding the number stated or prescribed; as, a supernumerary officer in a regiment

  2. Supernumeraryadjective

    exceeding a necessary, usual, or required number or quality; superfluous; as, supernumerary addresses; supernumerary expense

  3. Supernumerarynoun

    a person or thing beyond the number stated

  4. Supernumerarynoun

    a person or thing beyond what is necessary or usual; especially, a person employed not for regular service, but only to fill the place of another in case of need; specifically, in theaters, a person who is not a regular actor, but is employed to appear in a stage spectacle

  5. Etymology: [L. supernumerarius: cf. OF. supernumraire, F. surnumraire. See Super-, and Numerary, Number.]


  1. Supernumerary

    Supernumerary is an adjective which means "exceeding the usual number". When used as a noun, "supernumerary" means a temporary employee, additional society member, or extra manpower, usually in a function which has a temporary contract. Its counterpart, "numerary", is a civil designation for persons who are incorporated in a fixed or permanent way to a society or group, meaning a regular member of the working staff; permanent staff or member. The terms supernumerary and "numerary" have long been commonly used in the Spanish and Latin American academy and government; they are now also used in countries all over the world, such as France, Great Britain, Italy, and the US. For example, in the Roman army, supernumerarii were either public officers attendant to several of the Roman magistrates or a kind of soldier who filled the places of those killed or disabled by their wounds, or otherwise brought up the ranks to strength. The supernumerary role is commonplace in numerous fields. For example, there are supernumerary actors, judges, knights, ladies, military personnel, ministers, police officers, professors, and writers.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Supernumerary

    sū-pėr-nūm′ėr-ar-i, adj. over and above the number stated, or which is usual or necessary.—n. a person or thing beyond the usual, necessary, or stated number: one who appears on the stage without a speaking part. [L. supernumerariussuper, over, numerus, a number.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. supernumerary

    Officers or men in excess of the establishment, but borne on the rolls of the corps till absorbed. Supernumeraries, or supernumerary rank, also signifies the officers and non-commissioned officers in the infantry, cavalry, etc., who are not included among rank and file, and stand in the third rank on parade, when the troops are drawn up in double ranks.


  1. Supernumerary

    additional or added cells, veins or other structures.

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How to pronounce supernumerary?

How to say supernumerary in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of supernumerary in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of supernumerary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

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Translations for supernumerary

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"supernumerary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/supernumerary>.

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    evincing the presence of a deity
    A jejune
    B motile
    C numinous
    D bibulous

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