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August 17, 2022

Supernumerary / adjective / su·per·nu·mer·ar·y

Have you ever been given one job title and then expected to do the work of people in a variety of departments that were not in your job description?

We can describe these "extra" tasks as supernumerary.

In English, we use the word supernumerary as an adjective or noun to depict an excessive amount of something.

The definition of supernumerary relates to anything extra or above what is normally required. In most cases, supernumerary occurrences are not wanted.

In a Sentence

The new customer service agent was ready to quit his job when he realized the number of supernumerary tasks involved that weren't in the job description.

The supernumerary amount of stock that arrived at the grocery store rotted in the back when the store clerks had no way to place it in cold storage.

Supernumerary events and getting more than what you asked for aren't always a good thing.


Supernumerary is a word we derived from the Latin supernumarius and super numerum.

We've been using the word supernumerary since circa 1600 to represent excess quantities that go over, above, and beyond what is necessary, wanted, or expected.

Today, we typically use the word supernumerary with its original meaning to represent the negative aspects of having more than is needed.

One important hallmark of supernumerary things is that the excess they bring is often unwanted and unpleasant.


Excessive, Overage


Defect, Lack


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