[ 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 su·per·nu·mer·ar·ies.

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.

Nearby words

  1. supernaturalize,
  2. supernaturally,
  3. supernormal,
  4. supernova,
  5. supernova remnant,
  6. supernurse,
  7. supernutrient,
  8. superolateral,
  9. superorder,
  10. superordinate

Origin of supernumerary

From the Late Latin word supernumerārius, dating back to 1595–1605. See super-, numerary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for supernumerary

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 plural -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 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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for supernumerary


[ sōō′pər-nōōmə-rĕr′ē ]


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.