"exceeding a stated number," c. 1600, from Late Latin supernumarius "excess, counted in over" (of soldiers added to a full legion), from Latin super numerum "beyond the number," from super "beyond, over" (see super-) + numerum, accusative of numerus "number" (see number (n.)). As a noun from 1630s.
Entries linking to supernumerary
word-forming element meaning "above, over, beyond," from Latin super (adverb and preposition) "above, over, on the top (of), beyond, besides, in addition to," from *(s)uper-, variant form of PIE root *uper "over." In English words from Old French, it appears as sur-. The primary sense seems to have shifted over time from usually meaning "beyond" to usually meaning "very much," which can be contradictory. E.g. supersexual, which is attested from 1895 as "transcending sexuality," from 1968 as "very sexual."
c. 1300, "sum, aggregate of a collection," from Anglo-French noumbre, Old French nombre and directly from Latin numerus "a number, quantity," from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take."
The meaning "written symbol or figure of arithmetic value" is from late 14c. The meaning "single (numbered) issue of a magazine" is from 1795. The colloquial sense of "a person or thing" is by 1894. The meaning "dialing combination to reach a particular telephone receiver" is from 1879; hence wrong number (1886).
The sense of "musical selection" (1885) is from popular theater programs, where acts were marked by a number. Earlier numbers meant "metrical sound or utterance, measured or harmonic expression" (late 15c.) and, from 1580s, "poetical measure, poetry, verse."
Number one "oneself" is from 1704 (mock-Italian form numero uno attested from 1973); the biblical Book of Numbers (c. 1400, Latin Numeri, Greek Arithmoi) is so called because it begins with a census of the Israelites. Childish slang number one and number two for "urination" and "defecation" attested from 1902. Number cruncher is 1966, of machines; 1971 of persons.
To get or have (someone's) number "have someone figured out" is attested from 1853; to say one's number is up (1806) meaning "one's time has come" is a reference to the numbers on a lottery, draft, etc. The numbers "illegal lottery" is from 1897, American English. Do a number on is by 1969, exact meaning unclear; by the early 1970s it can mean "emotionally manipulate" (1970), "damage or injure" (1975), or "assassinate, kill" (1971).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "assign, allot; take."
It forms all or part of: agronomy; anomie; anomy; antinomian; antinomy; astronomer; astronomy; autonomous; autonomy; benumb; Deuteronomy; economy; enumerate; enumeration; gastronomy; heteronomy; innumerable; metronome; namaste; nemesis; nimble; nim; nomad; nomothetic; numb; numeracy; numeral; numerator; numerical; numerology; numerous; numismatic; supernumerary; taxonomy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek nemein "to deal out," nemesis "just indignation;" Latin numerus "number;" Lithuanian nuoma "rent, interest;" Middle Irish nos "custom, usage;" German nehmen "to take."
updated on December 30, 2013
Dictionary entries near supernumerary