an·​cil·​la an-ˈsi-lə How to pronounce ancilla (audio)
plural ancillae an-ˈsi-(ˌ)lē How to pronounce ancilla (audio)
: an aid to achieving or mastering something difficult

Examples of ancilla in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Each logical qubit gets encoded into three qubits, and ancilla qubits check to see if one of the phases has flipped. Katie McCormick, Quanta Magazine, 16 Nov. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ancilla.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, female servant

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ancilla was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near ancilla

Cite this Entry

“Ancilla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!