[ soo-per-noo-muh-rer-ee, -nyoo- ]
See synonyms for: supernumerarysupernumeraries on

  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.

noun,plural su·per·nu·mer·ar·ies.
  1. a supernumerary or extra person or thing.

  2. a supernumerary official or employee.

  1. 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

Words Nearby supernumerary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use supernumerary in a sentence

  • I blame the fact that she is a longtime member of an organization within her Christian church, a significant financial contributor, and a supernumerary.

  • Repeat the name twice very distinctly to him, and see there is no mistake about third or supernumerary or private.

    The False Chevalier | William Douw Lighthall
  • The exempts to be supernumerary, having a small allowance, and maintained in the college till preferment offer.

    An Essay upon Projects | Daniel Defoe
  • Au reste, I am careful for nothing; I am a sort of supernumerary spoon, and there will be no damage to the set if I am lost.

  • We have to add small supernumerary words to bring back the original power.

    Instigations | Ezra Pound
  • The short or supernumerary line of non-commissioned officers on our right stood motionless as a row of statues.

    The Adventures of Harry Revel | Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

British Dictionary definitions for supernumerary


/ (ˌsuːpəˈnjuːmərərɪ, -ˈnjuːmrərɪ) /

  1. exceeding a regular or proper number; extra

  2. functioning as a substitute or assistant with regard to a regular body or staff

nounplural -aries
  1. a person or thing that exceeds the normal, required, or regular number

  2. a person who functions as a substitute or assistant

  1. an actor who has no lines, esp a nonprofessional one

Origin of 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