• synonyms


[soo-per-noo-muh-rer-ee, -nyoo-]
See more synonyms for supernumerary on Thesaurus.com
  1. being in excess of the usual, proper, or prescribed number; additional; extra.
  2. associated with a regular body or staff as an assistant or substitute in case of necessity.
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noun, plural su·per·nu·mer·ar·ies.
  1. a supernumerary or extra person or thing.
  2. a supernumerary official or employee.
  3. a person who appears in a play or film without speaking lines or as part of a crowd; walk-on; extra.
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Origin of supernumerary

From the Late Latin word supernumerārius, dating back to 1595–1605. See super-, numerary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for supernumerary

excess, extra, additional, effusive, exaggerated, superfluous

Examples from the Web for supernumerary

Historical Examples of supernumerary

  • Supernumerary: additional or added cells, veins or other structures.

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

    John. B. Smith

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for supernumerary


  1. exceeding a regular or proper number; extra
  2. functioning as a substitute or assistant with regard to a regular body or staff
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noun plural -aries
  1. a person or thing that exceeds the normal, required, or regular number
  2. a person who functions as a substitute or assistant
  3. an actor who has no lines, esp a nonprofessional one
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Word Origin for supernumerary

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

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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

supernumerary in Medicine


  1. Exceeding the normal or usual number; extra.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.