perfunctory was our Word of the Day on 08/16/2017. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of perfunctory in a Sentence
- The eight-time Pro Bowl player sometimes goes several weeks without agreeing to do even the most perfunctory postgame interviews. —Nunyo Demasio, Sports Illustrated, 8 Jan. 2007
- Convivial and self-absorbed, he talks freely about crime and crooks, with only the most perfunctory nods toward conventional morality. —Edward Dolnick, The Rescue Artist, 2005
- You probably don't want to know how perfunctory was the presentation of the state's evidence, how tenth-rate was the performance of the court-appointed defense or how wretched was the end. —Christopher Hitchens, Nation, 23-30 Aug. 1999
the violinist delivered a perfunctory performance that displayed none of the passion and warmth he was once known for
Recent Examples of perfunctory from the Web
Both councils, which were largely cosmetic and [never held any real meetings besides one perfunctory photo op, are now finished.
Nearly always, the vote to go into a closed meeting is perfunctory.
Most bits fall along perfunctory lines even for a low-key late-night sketch show: Theo Epstein brings his stats prowess into the bedroom; Budweiser and Old Style reps duke it out.
Despite an increase in 3-D releases, the box-office market for that particular upcharge is falling as 3-D has gone from being a special experience to a perfunctory feature for every blockbuster.
The romantic elements in A League of Their Own are all perfunctory, largely filler.
In the title role, Kirsten Dunst was irresistible as usual, which made the biopic motions the film went through, adapted from Antonia Fraser’s biography, all the more perfunctory.
Cruise just gets lost in this mess, and Nick’s attempt at redemption is as perfunctory as everything else.
These days, annihilation shouldn’t feel so perfunctory.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perfunctory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Perfunctory is a word whose origins are found entirely in Latin. First appearing in English in the late 16th century, it derives via the Late Latin perfunctorius, meaning "done in a careless or superficial manner," from the Latin perfungi, meaning "to accomplish" or "to get through with." That verb is formed by combining the prefix per-, meaning "through," with the verb fungi, meaning "to perform." "Fungi" can be found in the roots of such words as "function," "defunct," and "fungible." "Perfunctory" can describe something that is carried out with little effort or care, as in "He did a perfunctory job raking the leaves," but when used to describe a person it usually means "lacking enthusiasm."
Synonymsapathetic, casual, complacent, disinterested, incurious, insensible, insouciant, nonchalant, indifferent, pococurante, unconcerned, uncurious, uninterested
Related Wordshalfhearted, lukewarm, tepid; aloof, cold, numb, remote, unemotional; callous, hard-hearted, insensitive, unfeeling; calm, cool, detached, dispassionate; careless, heedless, mindless; impassive, impervious, phlegmatic, stoic (or stoical), stolid; lethargic, listless; unimpressed
Near Antonymsattentive, aware, conscientious, heedful, mindful; caring, sensitive, warmhearted; ardent, fervent, keen, passionate, warm, zealous
PERFUNCTORY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of perfunctory for English Language Learners
—used to describe something that is done without energy or enthusiasm because of habit or because it is expected
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