an·​cil·​lary | \ ˈan(t)-sə-ˌler-ē How to pronounce ancillary (audio) , -ˌle-rē, especially British an-ˈsi-lə-rē \

Essential Meaning of ancillary

formal : providing something additional to a main part or function : extra The company hopes to boost its sales by releasing ancillary products. ancillary services/expenses

Full Definition of ancillary

1 : subordinate, subsidiary the main factory and its ancillary plants
2 : auxiliary, supplementary the need for ancillary evidence ancillary expenses ancillary equipment

Other Words from ancillary

ancillary noun

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Ancillary derives from the English word ancilla, a rare word that means "an aid to achieving or mastering something difficult." That word derives from Latin, in which it means "female servant." While English ancilla is unlikely to be encountered except in very specialized contexts (such as philosophy or quantum computing), ancillary picks up on the notion of providing aid or support in a way that supplements something else. In particular, the word often describes something that is in a position of secondary importance, such as the "ancillary products in a company's line."

Examples of ancillary in a Sentence

The lockout rocked the NHL, but among the ancillary benefits has been the emergence of young players who apprenticed for an additional season in the minors … — Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, 21 Nov. 2005 I am in love with a man who is in love with boats. As far as ancillary loves are concerned, I understand things could be worse. Sadly, I do not love boats. — Ann Patchett, Gourmet, May 2003 Traditionally museums have been built to house collections, and for ancillary functions such as storage, conservation, administration, and education. — Jayne Merkel, Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2002 Paleolithic hunters and gatherers obtained an abundance of complete protein, mostly from wild game; their vegetable foods were an ancillary protein source. This pattern prevailed until agriculture transformed it, shifting the human diet away from meat and toward plant food. — S. Boyd Eaton et al., The Paleolithic Prescription, 1988 The company hopes to boost its sales by releasing ancillary products.
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Recent Examples on the Web Correa was represented for the past two years by Endeavor/William Morris, an agency with a bent for maximizing off-field and ancillary opportunities. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 19 Jan. 2022 As Spirit implemented this model, its average fare dropped from about $105 to under $70 while ancillary revenues grew from under $5 to over $50. Ben Baldanza, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 There are also spinoff effects for ancillary businesses such as restaurants. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, 21 Oct. 2021 The time patients who arrive by ambulance wait in hallways or other ancillary spaces — paramedics and EMTs by their side — for a bed to open up is also on the rise, emergency medical officials said. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2021 Jacobs is a lifelong resident of North Ridgeville and is employed as director of ancillary services with O’Neill Healthcare. Linda Gandee, cleveland, 20 Dec. 2021 Eager fans flock to them, anticipating a unique concert experience coupled with the city’s ancillary enticements. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 18 Dec. 2021 And usually, this type of insurance will cover not just the flight itself, but ancillary expenses, such as an additional hotel night to take a next-day flight. CBS News, 15 Dec. 2021 The new agreement would supersede a previous agreement crafted in 2019 in which the town was to assume the cost of building Ernie Strack Drive and other ancillary costs. Michelle L. Quinn,, 9 Dec. 2021

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

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First Known Use of ancillary

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ancillary

see ancilla

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Time Traveler for ancillary

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The first known use of ancillary was in 1667

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Last Updated

25 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ancillary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for ancillary


an·​cil·​lary | \ ˈan(t)-sə-ˌler-ē, especially British an-ˈsil-ə-rē \

Medical Definition of ancillary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: being auxiliary or supplementary use of a drug as ancillary to surgical treatment ancillary staff ancillary diagnostic services


plural ancillaries

Medical Definition of ancillary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 British : one who assists or is supplementary to another person
2 : a supplemental diagnostic or therapeutic medical service (as magnetic resonance imaging or radiotherapy)


an·​cil·​lary | \ ˈan-sə-ˌler-ē, an-ˈsi-lə-rē How to pronounce ancillary (audio) \

Legal Definition of ancillary

1 : having a subordinate, subsidiary, or secondary nature ancillary functions an ancillary agreement
2 : serving as a supplement or addition ancillary documents
3 : directly related ancillary claims


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