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

accessorial, accessory, appurtenant, peripheral, supplemental, supplementary

Antonyms: Adjective

chief, main, principal

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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

Each engine has at least one large generator the auxiliary power unit has a generator and most airline jets have a ram air turbine that can produce electricity. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: Are cabin electronics a drain on a plane's engine?," 28 June 2019 A year ago, Boeing teamed up with Safran, a French engine maker, to manufacture auxiliary power units, a joint venture that would go head-to-head with Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney. Ellen Florian, Fortune, "Here's How the United Technologies-Raytheon Merger Could Make Life Even Harder for Boeing," 14 June 2019 The auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong’s Catholic Diocese, the Rev. Joseph Ha, appealed to the protesters to avoid violence. Raf Wober, BostonGlobe.com, "Hong Kong protesters end blockade of police headquarters," 22 June 2019 Jeremy Woo's grade: A- Alexander-Walker is a solid fit with what the Pelicans have in place, adding auxiliary playmaking and shooting to their guard rotation and giving them a third quality player as part of their first-round haul. Emily Caron, SI.com, "2019 NBA Draft Grades: No. 17 Pick Nickeil Alexander-Walker Headed to Pelicans," 20 June 2019 For another, the riot of auxiliary personalties — gay personalities — are in the service of her brand and persona. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "For Taylor Swift, Is Ego Stronger Than Pride?," 18 June 2019 Squads of trumpeters and trombonists, outfitted in combat gear and wearing mutes like auxiliary weapons, scampered up and down the darkened aisles. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Karlheinz Stockhausen Composes the Cosmos," 17 June 2019 Linda Donahue, auxiliary co-chair, presents him with a pie. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Brother Benno’s puts on Luau to raise money to help homeless, poor," 14 June 2019 Student and tuition fees made up nearly half the university’s revenue, followed by federal grants and contracts, nongovernment grants and contracts, and auxiliary enterprises. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "Coaches and doctors: These university employees are Arizona's top-paid public employees," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But as always, the 50-some Losers and their auxiliaries enjoyed the potluck spread plus outdoor grill; emcee Kyle Hendrickson’s somewhat abbreviated game; the presentation of awards for milestones of 50, 100, 200, etc. Washington Post, "The Style Invitational Empress on this week’s contest and results," 3 July 2019 Armed civilian groups have been an intermittent presence on the border for years, portraying themselves as auxiliaries to the Border Patrol and operating in areas where agents are not stationed. Fox News, "Civilian border militia spokesman indicted for impersonating US officer: prosecutors," 24 June 2019 Representatives from all six Cecil County auxiliaries attended. Joanne Bierly, baltimoresun.com, "Port Deposit: VFW names Bo Manor's Christy 'Teacher of the Year'," 21 June 2019 Dyes, auxiliaries, and accessories must also meet certain environmental criteria. Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson, Marie Claire, "The Do's and Don't's of a Closet Refresh," 6 May 2019 East Jefferson General Hospital Auxiliary was founded in 1972; proceeds from the event goes to the auxiliary's Nursing Scholarship and Certification program. ******* To reach Sue Strachan, send an email to socialscene@nola.com or call 504.450.5904. Sue Strachan, NOLA.com, "8 celebrated at 42nd annual Great Lady/Great Gentleman Awards," 5 June 2018 For more information about the fundraiser, visit the GoFundMe page, or the auxiliary's website. Samantha West, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lots of Milwaukee firehouses lack laundry machines. Here's why that's a problem.," 3 July 2018 Some groups are official police auxiliaries but others are essentially costumed social clubs. Washington Post, "Cossacks under scrutiny as they prepare to guard World Cup," 8 June 2018 Proceeds from the event will go to the auxiliary's Firefighter Cancer Prevention Initiative. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chili cook-off benefits Milwaukee firefighter cancer prevention initiative," 23 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for auxiliary

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for auxiliary

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

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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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