was entertained as a supernumerary with us. “

enkidu68

Senior Member
turkish
Hi friends,
this is coming from same book Captain Singleton by Defoe.


We were now a good troop, being in all twenty-seven men, very well
armed, and provided with everything but victuals; we had two carpenters
among us, a gunner, and, which was worth all the rest, a surgeon or
doctor; that is to say , he was an assistant to a surgeon at Goa, and was
entertained as a supernumerary with us. “


My question: Are these sentences inconsistent with each other?
If this Surgeon was assumed as most valuable person,
why "he" and was
entertained as a supernumerary with us. “
 
  • Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would have expected it to say "was supernumerary to us". I think it means that, although a very important person, he would not normally have been a member of the troop. "Supernumerary" is used by the military to mean "extra" because its literal meaning is "over the number".
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Coincidentally, yesterday I had a conversation about the meaning of "supernumerary (n.)" in respect of nautical matters.

    On a vessel, a supernumerary is anyone (i) who is not a fare-paying passenger or guest, but (ii) whose presence on the vessel is required for some reason other than the efficient running of the vessel and (iii) who is not signed on the ship's articles.

    For example,
    1. On a research vessel, there will be the crew and some scientists - the scientists are supernumeraries.
    2. The manufacturer of the ship's engine might send an engineer to make repairs to the engine - the engineer is a supernumerary.
    3. A ship that is carrying, as cargo, live animals might have a person to attend to the animals - this person would be a supernumerary.
    4. A training ship will have cadets who are learning the job - the cadets are supernumeraries.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    There is nothing to indicate "valuable" that I can see. The doctor was simply not a member of the crew.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I quote:

    we had two carpenters among us, a gunner, and, which was worth all the rest, a surgeon or
    doctor;
    that is to say , he was an assistant to a surgeon at Goa, and was entertained as a supernumerary with us. “

    Someone who is 'worth all the rest' is valuable for sure.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Someone who is 'worth all the rest' is valuable for sure.
    Yes, but my point is that the meaning "valuable" is not included in the word "supernumerary." Supernumeraries simply have a function or potential function on a vessel that is unrelated to the good running of the vessel itself and are not under articles.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    It may be useful to mention that "to entertain" is here used in its (almost) obsolete sense of "to be considered" "to be seen" - it has nothing to do with "entertainment" as we understand it currently.

    and was entertained as a supernumerary with us. “ -> and was seen/regarded/considered as a supernumerary with by us. “
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top