adjective \g-ˈzil-yə-rē, -ˈzil-rē, -ˈzi-lə-\

: available to provide extra help, power, etc., when it is needed

Full Definition of AUXILIARY

a :  offering or providing help
b :  functioning in a subsidiary capacity <an auxiliary branch of the state university>
of a verb :  accompanying another verb and typically expressing person, number, mood, or tense
a :  supplementary
b :  constituting a reserve <an auxiliary power plant>
:  equipped with sails and a supplementary inboard engine <an auxiliary sloop>

Examples of AUXILIARY

  1. a sailboat with an auxiliary engine
  2. <the auditorium has an auxiliary cooling system used only on particularly sweltering days>
  3. Travelers have also been griping about a lack of air-conditioning while planes are on the tarmac—even after delays stretch for hours. Airlines blame the problem on a breakdown of a plane's auxiliary power unit. —Darren Everson, Wall Street Journal, 8 Aug. 2007


Latin auxiliaris, from auxilium help; akin to Latin augēre to increase — more at eke
First Known Use: 15th century


noun \g-ˈzil-yə-rē, -ˈzil-rē, -ˈzi-lə-\

: a group that provides help or assistance

plural aux·il·ia·ries

Full Definition of AUXILIARY

a :  an auxiliary person, group, or device (see 1auxiliary); specifically :  a member of a foreign force serving a nation at war
b :  a Roman Catholic titular bishop assisting a diocesan bishop and not having the right of succession —called also auxiliary bishop
:  a sailing boat or ship equipped with a supplementary inboard engine
:  an auxiliary verb

Examples of AUXILIARY

  1. In 1944 Forrestal also began a program of sending black enlisted men to serve in a limited number of fleet auxiliaries. These were still not warships, but they were seagoing vessels and closer to the fighting Navy than the small harbor-defense craft and harbor auxiliaries that had initially been open to black crews. —The Golden Thirteen, 1993


(see 1auxiliary)
First Known Use: 1567


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In grammar, a verb that is subordinate to the main lexical verb in a clause. Auxiliaries can convey distinctions of tense, aspect, mood, person, and number. In Germanic languages such as English and Romance languages such as French, an auxiliary verb occurs with the main verb in the form of an infinitive or participle.


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