Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 5, 2020 is:

ancillary • AN-suh-lair-ee  • adjective

1 : of lower or secondary class or rank : subordinate, subsidiary

2 : providing additional help or support : auxiliary, supplementary


One ancillary benefit of Beatrice’s job at the movie theater is the ability to catch an early glimpse of new releases.

“Ohio’s medical marijuana industry has spawned dozens of growers, dispensaries and processors, and while those businesses receive the most attention, an entire industry of ancillary companies has also sprung up.” — Patrick Cooley, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, 2 Jan. 2020

Did you know?

Ancillary derives from the English word ancilla, a rare word that means “an aid to achieving or mastering something difficult.” That word derives from Latin, in which it means “female servant.” While English ancilla is unlikely to be encountered except in very specialized contexts (such as philosophy or quantum computing), ancillary picks up on the notion of providing aid or support in a way that supplements something else. In particular, the word often describes something that is in a position of secondary importance, such as the “ancillary products in a company’s line.”


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