Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

auxiliary

play
adjective aux·il·ia·ry \ȯg-ˈzil-yə-rē, -ˈzil-rē, -ˈzi-lə-\

Simple Definition of auxiliary

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

Full Definition of auxiliary

  1. 1 a :  offering or providing help b :  functioning in a subsidiary capacity <an auxiliary branch of the state university>

  2. 2 of a verb :  accompanying another verb and typically expressing person, number, mood, or tense

  3. 3 a :  supplementary b :  constituting a reserve <an auxiliary power plant>

  4. 4 :  equipped with sails and a supplementary inboard engine <an auxiliary sloop>

Examples of auxiliary

  1. 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

  2. However, on March 1, 1896, Italian forces underwent a stunning defeat at Adwa, where they fought against the warriors of the Abyssinian emperor, Menelik. Some five thousand Italian troops and two thousand native auxiliary troops had been killed or captured, and the colony had been lost. —Mirella Tenderini et al., The Duke of the Abruzzi, 1997

  3. The rotund 6'1", 235-pound object of their affections hasn't played a day of major league baseball, he dresses in the auxiliary locker room, and he isn't even listed on Boston's 40-man roster. But after a resplendent summer last year at Triple A Pawtucket and a winter of panegyrics from a giddy Boston press, first baseman Maurice Samuel (Mo) Vaughn, 23, has arrived as a “real” rookie who everyone in Red Sox-land hopes is the real thing. —Nicholas Dawidoff, Sports Illustrated, 1 Apr. 1991

  4. a sailboat with an auxiliary engine

  5. <the auditorium has an auxiliary cooling system used only on particularly sweltering days>



Origin of auxiliary

Latin auxiliaris, from auxilium help; akin to Latin augēre to increase — more at eke


First Known Use: 15th century


2

auxiliary

play
noun aux·il·ia·ry \ȯg-ˈzil-yə-rē, -ˈzil-rē, -ˈzi-lə-\

Simple Definition of auxiliary

  • : a group that provides help or assistance

Full Definition of auxiliary

plural aux·il·ia·ries

  1. 1 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

  2. 2 :  a sailing boat or ship equipped with a supplementary inboard engine

  3. 3 :  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

  2. Roman cavalry was poorly developed; they relied on wings, called alae, of horsemen supplied by their auxiliaries. The favorite Roman battle formation was of a triple line of cohorts with alae sweeping the flanks. —Kenneth P. Czech, MHQ : The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Autumn 1992



Origin of auxiliary

(see 1auxiliary)


First Known Use: 1567




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up auxiliary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift duvet kittly-benders pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ