1

auxiliary

adjective aux·il·ia·ry \ ȯg-ˈzil-yə-rē , -ˈzil-rē , -ˈzi-lə- \
Updated on: 30 Nov 2017

Definition of auxiliary

1 a : offering or providing help
b : functioning in a subsidiary capacity
  • an auxiliary branch of the state university
2 of a verb : accompanying another verb and typically expressing person, number, mood, or tense
  • In "I will go," the word "will" is an auxiliary verb.
3 a : supplementary
  • a telescope with its auxiliary apparatus
b : constituting a reserve
  • an auxiliary power plant
  • an auxiliary police force
4 of a boat : equipped with sails and a supplementary inboard engine
  • an auxiliary sloop

auxiliary was our Word of the Day on 09/09/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of auxiliary in a Sentence

  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 EversonWall Street Journal8 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 Abruzzi1997
  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 DawidoffSports Illustrated1 Apr. 1991
  4. a sailboat with an auxiliary engine

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

Recent Examples of auxiliary from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'auxiliary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Auxiliary can be used in a wide range of capacities in English to describe a person or thing that assists another. A fire department may bring in auxiliary units, for example, to battle a tough blaze, or a sailboat may be equipped with auxiliary engines to supply propulsion when the wind disappears. In grammar, an auxiliary verb assists another (main) verb to express person, number, mood, or tense, as have in "They have been informed." The Latin source of auxiliary is auxilium, meaning "help."

Origin and Etymology of auxiliary

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


2

auxiliary

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

Definition of auxiliary

plural auxiliaries
1 a : an auxiliary person, group, or device; 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 : a sailing boat or ship equipped with a supplementary inboard engine
3 grammar : an auxiliary verb

Examples of auxiliary in a Sentence

  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 Thirteen1993
  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. CzechMHQ : The Quarterly Journal of Military HistoryAutumn 1992

Recent Examples of auxiliary from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'auxiliary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of auxiliary



AUXILIARY Defined for English Language Learners

auxiliary

adjective

Definition of auxiliary for English Language Learners

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


auxiliary

noun

Definition of auxiliary for English Language Learners

  • : a group that provides help or assistance


AUXILIARY Defined for Kids

1

auxiliary

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

Definition of auxiliary for Students

: available to provide something extra
  • an auxiliary engine

2

auxiliary

noun

Definition of auxiliary for Students

plural auxiliaries
1 : a group that provides assistance

Medical Dictionary

1

auxiliary

adjective aux·il·ia·ry \ ȯg-ˈzil-yə-rē , -ˈzil-(ə-)rē \

medical Definition of auxiliary

: serving to supplement or assist
  • auxiliary springs in a dental appliance

2

auxiliary

noun

medical Definition of auxiliary

1 : one who assists or serves another person especially in dentistry
2 : an organization that assists (as by donations or volunteer services) the work especially of a hospital


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to provide what is needed to exist

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