Word of the Day : December 23, 2010

supererogation

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noun soo-per-air-uh-GAY-shun

Definition

: the act of performing more than is required by duty, obligation, or need

Did You Know?

English speakers took "supererogation" from the Medieval Latin verb "supererogare," which means "to perform beyond the call of duty." That Latin word, in turn, derives from the prefix "super-," meaning "over and above," plus "erogare," meaning "to expend public funds after asking the consent of the people." The earliest English uses of "supererogation" occurred in religious contexts, where it often referred to the doing of good deeds beyond those required for salvation. By the late 1500s, "supererogation" was being applied to any act performed above and beyond obligation.


Examples

I have already stated my opinion and thoroughly explained my reasoning, so it would be an act of supererogation to provide further details.

"To redistribute from wealthy to poor across national boundaries, or to invest economically in a defeated state, may be an ethical obligation, a work of supererogation, ethically neutral, or even ethically wrong." -- From the 2010 book Global Ethics: An Introduction by Kimberly Hutchings



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