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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for auxiliary

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Participants, including bands, troops, Boy Scouts and women’s auxiliary organizations, took up 23 city blocks. USA Today, "100 years ago, Philadelphia chose a parade over social distancing during the 1918 Spanish flu – and paid a heavy price," 22 May 2020 The company already has much of the auxiliary infrastructure and operations that mobile carriers set up after getting their network off the ground. Pavel Alpeyev, Bloomberg.com, "Rakuten Unveils Aggressive Mobile Pricing in Japan," 7 May 2020 The series flattens out both of these dalliances quite a bit, even changing the circumstances of Marianne and Lukas’s breakup: In the series, each auxiliary love interest exists primarily as a foil to Marianne and Connell’s core relationship. Keely Weiss, Harper's BAZAAR, "Normal People: How the Hulu Show Differs from Sally Rooney's Novel," 29 Apr. 2020 An auxiliary light helps illuminate terrain to give it a better sense of its environment. Popular Science, "DJI’s newest drone can dodge other flying objects," 28 Apr. 2020 The airstairs, new auxiliary power units, and other features are designed to allow the aircraft to operate as independently as possible. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Next-Gen Air Force One Is Already Over Budget," 30 Apr. 2020 Cooper originally applied to the state health department for a license to open the auxiliary unit under the state’s emergency healthcare order. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al, "Birmingham doc wants to deliver babies in office to guard against coronavirus," 23 Apr. 2020 Enemy Radio was built for that reason, to be a DJ+MC auxiliary unit of Public Enemy, a no-slack homage tossback to DJ+MC roots. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Chuck D says Flavor Flav's Public Enemy firing was an April Fool's Day joke to promote new music," 1 Apr. 2020 The location primarily designs and manufactures aircraft propulsion engines and auxiliary power units, according to an announcement on Honeywell's website. Alyssa Stoney, azcentral, "Honeywell hiring 500 in Phoenix to help manufacture N95 masks for coronavirus fight," 30 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Cars lined up around the block to pick up food and water in downtown Wilmington, N.C., at a distribution site organized by the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. WSJ, "Florence: Live Updates on the Storm," 20 Sep. 2018 Very quickly, staff in other sectors—teachers, doctors, nurses, and nursing auxiliaries—together with large numbers of pensioners and students joined them in striking. Sylvain Cypel, The New York Review of Books, "Why Macron Refuses to Retire in France’s Pensions Battle," 17 Jan. 2020 Ensign is registered with authorities as a supporting organization and integrated auxiliary of the Mormon Church. Anchorage Daily News, "Mormon Church has misled members on $100 billion tax-exempt investment fund, whistleblower alleges," 17 Dec. 2019 Anyone is welcome: ink-blotters, auxiliaries of ink-blotters, and just Invite fans. Washington Post, "Style Conversational Week 1356: That’s what she said," 31 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about auxiliary

Time Traveler for auxiliary

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about auxiliary

Statistics for auxiliary

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Auxiliary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/auxiliary. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for auxiliary

auxiliary

adjective
How to pronounce auxiliary (audio) How to pronounce auxiliary (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on auxiliary

What made you want to look up auxiliary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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