• synonyms


[an-suh-ler-ee or, esp. British, an-sil-uh-ree]
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  1. subordinate; subsidiary.
  2. auxiliary; assisting.
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noun, plural an·cil·lar·ies.
  1. something that serves in an ancillary capacity: Slides, records, and other ancillaries can be used with the basic textbook.
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Origin of ancillary

1660–70; < Latin ancill(a) (see ancilla) + -ary; compare Latin ancillāris having the status of a female slave, with -āris -ar1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ancillary


  1. subsidiary
  2. auxiliary; supplementaryancillary services
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noun plural -laries
  1. a subsidiary or auxiliary thing or personthe company has an ancillary abroad
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin ancillāris concerning maidservants, from ancilla, diminutive of ancūla female servant
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

Word Origin and History for ancillary


1660s, "subservient, subordinate," from Latin ancillaris "relating to maidservants," diminutive of ancilla "handmaid," fem. diminutive of anculus "servant," literally "he who bustles about," from root of ambi- "about" (see ambi-) + PIE *kwol-o-, from root *kwel- "move round, turn about, be much about" (see cycle (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ancillary in Medicine


  1. Relating to or being auxiliary or secondary.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.