One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
no object In Roman Catholic doctrine: to do more than what God requires or commands, thereby earning merit for others; to perform a work or works of supererogation. Hence, more generally: to do more than is required or necessary.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Bridges (?1536–1618), bishop of Oxford. From post-classical Latin supererogat-, past participial stem of supererogare to pay in addition (Vetus Latina, Vulgate), to do more than necessary from classical Latin super- + ērogāre.
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