auxiliary

adjective
aux·​il·​ia·​ry | \ ȯg-ˈzil-yə-rē How to pronounce auxiliary (audio) , -ˈzil-rē, -ˈzi-lə- How to pronounce auxiliary (audio) \

Definition of auxiliary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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.
3a : 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

noun
plural auxiliaries

Definition of auxiliary (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for auxiliary

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Did You Know?

Adjective

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."

Examples of auxiliary in a Sentence

Adjective 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 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 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 a sailboat with an auxiliary engine the auditorium has an auxiliary cooling system used only on particularly sweltering days Noun 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 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
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After the statement was issued, another auxiliary bishop, John Dolan of San Diego, also endorsed it. David Crary, Star Tribune, "Group of US Catholic bishops urges support for LGBT youth," 25 Jan. 2021 The hospital’s auxiliary site has been the target in recent weeks of coronavirus deniers who have taken to social media to share a number of false claims about the site. Washington Post, "Nevada doctor rebukes Trump’s retweet suggesting photo of covid medical unit was fake: ‘I was disappointed’," 2 Dec. 2020 The state has already deployed 900 additional medical personnel to El Paso, some of which will staff the auxiliary care site. Caroline Linton, CBS News, "Texas to establish additional care sites in El Paso as COVID-19 cases surge," 25 Oct. 2020 The loan would specifically be used to cover revenue losses in auxiliary services such as athletics and student housing. Ryan Faircloth, Star Tribune, "New job, same challenge: Former state budget chief works to solve $166M deficit at University of Minnesota," 25 Dec. 2020 So far this year, research at the observatory had characterized the spin, rotation, and shape of 67 asteroids before an auxiliary cable came loose from a socket on one of the site's towers in August, Lugo said. Fernando Alfonso Iii, CNN, "The economic loss of Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory is already being felt. It's also very personal," 6 Dec. 2020 The first sign of trouble came in August, when an auxiliary cable—one of 18 that held the instrument platform in place—snapped and tore through the dish 500 feet below, resulting in significant damage. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Watch the Moment Arecibo Observatory Collapses in This Devastating Drone Footage," 4 Dec. 2020 But on August 10, an auxiliary cable pulled free of its socket on support tower 4 and crashed down onto the dish below, ripping a 100-foot-long gash. William Harwood, CBS News, "Dramatic video shows collapse at iconic Arecibo Observatory," 3 Dec. 2020 In August, an auxiliary cable slipped from its socket and slashed a 100-foot fissure in the observatory’s reflector dish. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Massive Arecibo Telescope Collapses in Puerto Rico," 3 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Vaccine relief, ‘cooking the virus,’ drive-in legislating: News from around our 50 states," 17 Dec. 2020 The auxiliary of the United States Air Force is conducting search patterns with ground teams on standby. al, "Plane bound from Florida to Gulf Shores disappears, debris found," 16 Sep. 2020 On September 28, 1918, two hundred thousand people watched and cheered as a miles-long procession of troops, Boy Scouts, and women’s auxiliaries made its way down Broad Street. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, "How the Protests Have Changed the Pandemic," 4 June 2020 But perhaps most important in fighting contagion are Germany’s phalanx of contact-tracers—part detectives, part social workers, part medical auxiliaries and part data clerks. The Economist, "The virus detectives Germany’s contact tracers try to block a second covid-19 wave," 28 May 2020 In 1944, Boilermakers Local 6, which covered Marinship and shipyards in San Francisco, had 36,000 members, including 3,000 African American members of segregated auxiliaries. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "Marin shipyard welcomed blacks and women in WWII, but diversity ended at the gates," 3 Apr. 2020 Mercy and Comfort are part of the U.S. Navy but are classified as auxiliaries, like tankers and logistic ships, rather than warships built for combat. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Look at the U.S. Navy Hospital Ships Sent to Battle the Coronavirus," 18 Mar. 2020 The post auxiliary has a fish fry every Friday (weather permitting). Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Grab a spork. 90+ fish fries to try in Cincinnati area," 20 Feb. 2020 Currently, there are about 10 auxiliaries but, according to a city ordinance, the department can have up to 15. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland, "Rocky River Citizen Police Academy prepares for 10th annual class," 2 Dec. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of auxiliary

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for auxiliary

Adjective

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

Noun

derivative of auxiliary entry 1

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Time Traveler for auxiliary

Time Traveler

The first known use of auxiliary was in the 15th century

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Statistics for auxiliary

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Auxiliary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/auxiliary. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for auxiliary

auxiliary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of auxiliary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

auxiliary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of auxiliary (Entry 2 of 2)

: a group that provides help or assistance

auxiliary

adjective
aux·​il·​ia·​ry | \ ȯg-ˈzi-lyə-rē How to pronounce auxiliary (audio) , -ˈzi-lə-rē, -ˈzil-rē \

Kids Definition of auxiliary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: available to provide something extra an auxiliary engine

auxiliary

noun
plural auxiliaries

Kids Definition of auxiliary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a group that provides assistance

auxiliary

adjective
aux·​il·​ia·​ry | \ ȯg-ˈzil-yə-rē How to pronounce auxiliary (audio) , -ˈzil-(ə-)rē How to pronounce auxiliary (audio) \

Medical Definition of auxiliary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

auxiliary

noun

Medical Definition of auxiliary (Entry 2 of 2)

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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