Meaning of supererogation in English:


Pronunciation /ˌsuːpərˌɛrəˈɡeɪʃn/


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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As a result, there can be no question of moving from commandments to counsels in a simplistic way, and no sense that perfection involves supererogation.’
    • ‘He can make this claim because of his adherence to the holiness code and his supererogation of the law.’


    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.

      ‘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.’
      • ‘This section is levelled against the doctrine of the Church of Rome, respecting works of supererogation.’
      • ‘It is often said that works of supererogation involve going beyond the call of duty, doing good in a way which transcends the requirements of moral obligation.’
      • ‘Nor does he require of us good works to atone for our sins or works of supererogation to atone for the sins of others.’
      • ‘For it was he who attempted to curry God's favor by works of supererogation.’


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