What does supernumerary mean?

Here's a list of possible definitions for the term supernumerary:

Princeton's WordNet

  1. supernumerary(noun)

    a person serving no apparent function

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

  2. supernumerary, spear carrier, extra(adj)

    a minor actor in crowd scenes

  3. excess, extra, redundant, spare, supererogatory, superfluous, supernumerary, surplus(adj)

    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. supernumerary(Noun)

    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. supernumerary(Noun)

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

  3. supernumerary(Adjective)

    Extra; beyond the standard or prescribed amount.

  4. supernumerary(Adjective)

    Greater in number than.

  5. supernumerary(Adjective)

    Beyond what is necessary.

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

Webster Dictionary

  1. Supernumerary(adj)

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

  2. Supernumerary(adj)

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

  3. Supernumerary(noun)

    a person or thing beyond the number stated

  4. Supernumerary(noun)

    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. Origin: [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.


  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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