American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Exceeding a fixed, prescribed, or standard number; extra.
- adj. Exceeding the required or desired number or amount; superfluous. See Synonyms at superfluous.
- n. One that is in excess of the regular, necessary, or usual number.
- n. An actor without a speaking part, as one who appears in a crowd scene.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Exceeding a number stated or prescribed: as, a supernumerary officer in a regiment.
- Exceeding a necessary or usual number.
- n. A person or thing beyond the number stated, or beyond what is necessary or usual; especially, a person not formally a member of a regular body or staff of officials or employees, but retained or employed to act as an assistant or substitute in case of necessity.
- n. Specifically— A military officer attached to a corps or arm of the service where no vacancy exists. Such an officer receives, in the United States army, the rank of brevet second lieutenant, or additional second lieutenant.
- n. Theat., one not belonging to the regular company, who appears on the stage, but has no lines to speak. Often colloquially abbreviated super and supe.
- n. A civil designation for somebody who works in a group, association or public office, without forming part of the regular staff; those distinguished from numerary. (For example, supernumerary judges are those who help the regular judges when there is a surplus amount of work.)
- n. An extra or walk-on in a film or play; spear-carrier.
- adj. Extra; beyond the standard or prescribed amount.
- adj. Greater in number than.
- adj. Beyond what is necessary.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Exceeding the number stated or prescribed.
- adj. Exceeding a necessary, usual, or required number or quality; superfluous.
- n. A person or thing beyond the number stated.
- n. A person or thing beyond what is necessary or usual; especially, a person employed not for regular service, but only to fill the place of another in case of need; specifically, in theaters, a person who is not a regular actor, but is employed to appear in a stage spectacle.
- n. a minor actor in crowd scenes
- adj. more than is needed, desired, or required
- n. a person serving no apparent function
- From the Late Latin supernumerarius ("excessively high in number"), from super ("above; beyond") + numerum, accusative of numerus ("number"). (Wiktionary)
- Latin supernumerārius : super, above; see super- + numerum, accusative of numerus, number; see nem- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“For as for that part which seemeth supernumerary, which is prophecy, it is but divine history, which hath that prerogative over human, as the narration may be before the fact as well as after.”
“Another supernumerary was the joiner, a rating only carried in the seventeenth century on great ships with much fancy work about the poop.”
“The existence of the supernumerary was a puzzle, but Olbers solved it for the moment by suggesting that Ceres and Pallas, as he called his captive, might be fragments of a quondam planet, shattered by internal explosion or by the impact of a comet.”
“The rare phenomenon is known as a supernumerary phantom limb.”
“Fraser-Moleketi said the word "supernumerary" was no longer used by government.”
“The first was the acceptance of "supernumerary" religious, that is of a larger number than the resources of the convent warranted; hence it was but just that the amount required for their maintenance should be demanded of them.”
“It will be noticed that a point with which Ellen Key and the leaders of the new German woman's movement specially concern themselves is the affectional needs of the "supernumerary" woman and the legitimation of her children.”
“Doctors call the extra appendages "supernumerary" body parts and these can be found on some famous people in history.”
“I see many writers here consider a two thirds supernumerary requirement to raise any taxes as a ‘problem’.”
“In a way, the Royal Family of Jaipur makes certain of the Windsors look like supernumerary characters out of Cold Comfort Farm.”
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