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[soo-per-noo-muh-rer-ee, -nyoo-] /ˌsu pərˈnu məˌrɛr i, -ˈnyu-/
being in excess of the usual, proper, or prescribed number; additional; extra.
associated with a regular body or staff as an assistant or substitute in case of necessity.
noun, plural supernumeraries.
a supernumerary or extra person or thing.
a supernumerary official or employee.
a person who appears in a play or film without speaking lines or as part of a crowd; walk-on; extra.
Origin of supernumerary
From the Late Latin word supernumerārius, dating back to 1595-1605. See super-, numerary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for supernumerary
Historical Examples
  • supernumerary: additional or added cells, veins or other structures.

  • One felt one's self a supernumerary hired to fill the scene.

  • A supernumerary, who thought that he must be dead, had asked for his place.

    The Conspirators Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • Placed on the books for victuals and wages; also supernumerary and "for rank."

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • It is not extravagant to say that any one fish may be considered a supernumerary.

    The Poet at the Breakfast Table Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • In these cases the supernumerary pedicels are often brightly coloured.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters
  • When all was said, he was and would be no more than a supernumerary.

    The Frontier Maurice LeBlanc
  • He threw up lectures and joined our battalion as a supernumerary.

    The Red Watch J. A. Currie
  • Now he was simply appointed as supernumerary in one opera after the other.

    The Growth of a Soul August Strindberg
  • To saw down the supernumerary trees was the work of half an hour.

    On the Seaboard August Strindberg
British Dictionary definitions for supernumerary


/ˌsuːpəˈnjuːmərərɪ; -ˈnjuːmrərɪ/
exceeding a regular or proper number; extra
functioning as a substitute or assistant with regard to a regular body or staff
noun (pl) -aries
a person or thing that exceeds the normal, required, or regular number
a person who functions as a substitute or assistant
an actor who has no lines, esp a nonprofessional one
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin supernumerārius, from Latin super- + numerus number
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for supernumerary

c.1600, from Late Latin supernumarius "excessive in number" (of soldiers added to a full legion), from Latin super numerum "beyond the number," from super "beyond, over" (see super-) + numerum, accusative of numerus "number" (see number (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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supernumerary in Medicine

supernumerary su·per·nu·mer·ar·y (sōō'pər-nōō'mə-rěr'ē, -nyōō'-)
Exceeding the normal or usual number; extra.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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