Definition of ancillary in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /anˈsɪləri/


1Providing necessary support to the primary activities or operation of an organization, system, etc. ancillary staff
More example sentences
  • GPs needed to be able to make themselves more available to teenagers and that required State support for ancillary services and the employment of nursing staff and counsellors at surgeries, he said.
  • Project, production and validation engineers are required not only by the main pharmaceutical companies, but by a variety of ancillary support operations.
  • The design allows for support and ancillary services in a pleasant court-yard-style environment.
1.1In addition to something else, but not as important: paragraph 19 was merely ancillary to paragraph 16
More example sentences
  • If the restraint was deemed to be merely ancillary to the main purpose of a lawful contract, then it would be lawful.
  • The addition of ancillary revenue streams like high-speed Internet access and telephony make in-market competition more attractive today, proponents say.
  • There is training, health insurance and ancillary benefits, payroll taxes, and so forth.

noun (plural ancillaries)

1A person whose work provides necessary support to the primary activities of an organization, system, etc. the employment of specialist teachers and ancillaries
More example sentences
  • You'll need a calculator to add them all up plus civil servants and ancillaries.
  • But Henry had suffocated her, bit by bit, until everyone around them saw her as nothing more than his ancillary.
  • The union, on the other hand, is under immense pressure from his own members - many of them in the lowest paid NHS jobs as cleaners, porters and ancillaries - over Agenda for Change.
1.1Something which functions in a supplementary or supporting role: undergraduate courses of three main subjects with related ancillaries the system measures engine power at the flywheel with all ancillaries (fan, standard exhaust, etc.) connected
More example sentences
  • Hotel Naomh Seosamh has a bar, lounge, restaurant, function room and ancillaries with 14 en suite guest bedrooms.
  • The emphasis, moreover, is almost completely on unions as ancillaries in managing the workplace not the economy.
  • The extension would have meeting rooms, an ancillary to the existing conference facilities, ten bedrooms and a presidential suite.


Mid 17th century: from Latin ancillaris, from ancilla 'maidservant'.

  • Now meaning ‘supporting’ or ‘subordinate’, ancillary comes from Latin ancilla ‘maidservant’.

Words that rhyme with ancillary

artillery, capillary, codicillary, distillery, fibrillary, fritillary, Hilary, maxillary, pillory

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: an¦cil|lary

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.