superfluous was our Word of the Day on 02/17/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of superfluous in a Sentence
- In the Imagist model, the writer is a sculptor. Technique consists of chipping away everything superfluous in order to reveal the essential form within. "It took you ninety-seven words to do it," Pound is reported to have remarked to a young literary aspirant who had handed him a new poem. "I find it could have been managed in fifty-six." —Louis Menand, New Yorker, 9 & 16 June 2008
- Oddly, despite the preponderance of superfluous words, the book has no glossary, which is a must for an introductory audience. —Dorothy Merritts, Eos, 3 Oct. 2000
- Twenty years ago, baby boomers were written about as if every one of them had as a life goal making enough money to accumulate the same superfluous material objects that everyone else had. —Calvin Trillin, Time, 6 Sept. 1999
cleared off all the superfluous stuff on his desk to make room for the new computer
Recent Examples of superfluous from the Web
As war descended and pottery was deemed superfluous, Rie turned to button making.
New York Picture books about the law are as superfluous as songs about economics.
If these payments are so superfluous and only there to help prop up insurance company stock prices and profits, why try to resurrect them at all?
Granted, critics may call this sparkling water movement snooty, superfluous, or silly.
In each one, Knack and his entirely superfluous human sidekick, Lucas, fly to some mutely exotic locale.
One motivation was to get out ahead of the unions and treat workers in a way that would make unions superfluous.
Beyond explanation is the art itself. Animating Van Gogh’s bold impasto, already kinetic on the canvas, could have been merely superfluous.
Critics say the ballot is superfluous and that parliament should simply vote on the matter.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'superfluous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
If you think that superfluous must mean "extra 'fluous,'" along the pattern of such words as superabsorbent and superabundant, you're not far off. Superfluous comes from the Latin adjective superfluus, meaning literally "running over" or "overflowing." Superfluus, in turn, derives from the combination of the prefix super- (meaning "over" or "more") and fluere, "to flow." (Fluere also gave us fluid, fluent, and influence, among others.) Since its first appearance in English in the 15th century, superfluous has referred to an "overflowing" of some supply, as of time or words, which hearkens back to its Latin origins.
Synonymsexcess, extra, redundant, supererogatory, spare, supernumerary, surplus
Related Wordsaccessory, additional, supplemental, supplementary; de trop, dispensable, extraneous, gratuitous, needless, nonessential, uncalled-for, unessential, unnecessary, unneeded, unwanted; abundant, ample, bountiful, copious, plenteous, plentiful
Near Antonymsdeficient, inadequate, insufficient, meager (or meagre), niggardly, poor, scant, scanty, scarce, short, shortish, skimpy, sparse
SUPERFLUOUS Defined for English Language Learners
SUPERFLUOUS Defined for Kids
Word Root of superfluous
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