Definition of supererogation in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌsuːpərɛrəˈɡeɪʃ(ə)n/


[mass noun]
The performance of more work than duty requires: to maximize profits is for management not an optional exercise or a work of supererogation
More example sentences
  • In partnership with moral theology, it forms also a practical theology of the Christian life that does not require perfection as supererogation.
  • All this comes as a prodigal act of supererogation: Merely confronted with Shakespeare's poetic diction and iambic pentameter, few cast members manage to keep their heads above water.
  • I say that these - which are the laws of mesmerism in its general features - it would be supererogation to demonstrate; nor shall I inflict upon my readers so needless a demonstration to-day.


works of supererogation

(In the Roman Catholic Church) actions believed to form a reserve fund of merit that can be drawn on by prayer in favour of sinners.
Example sentences
  • Such persons, by virtue of their vows, were in a state of perfection and, by fulfilling the counsels, their ‘works of supererogation’ produced more merit than those who simply followed the Ten Commandments.
  • The whole theory of indulgences and works of supererogation rests upon a false notion of our relation to God.
  • The practice of granting indulgences was based on the Catholic doctrine of works of supererogation.



Pronunciation: /ˌsuːpərɪˈrɒɡət(ə)ri/
Example sentences
  • Some of these observances will seem supererogatory or alien to us; but Newman's key point is that we ‘need not go out of the round of the day’ in order to enter into the divine service that frees us from captivity to our selfish desires.
  • It might be morally better to give the money to charity, but such contributions seem supererogatory, that is, above and beyond the call of duty.
  • It is evident that, if required, congregations can be organized for supererogatory prayers.


Early 16th century: from late Latin supererogatio(n-), from supererogare 'pay in addition', from super- 'over' + erogare 'pay out'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: super|eroga¦tion

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