"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[per-fuhngk-tuh-ree] /pərˈfʌŋk tə ri/
performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial:
perfunctory courtesy.
lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic:
In his lectures he reveals himself to be merely a perfunctory speaker.
Origin of perfunctory
1575-85; < Late Latin perfūnctōrius negligent, superficial, derivative of perfungī to do one's job, be done, equivalent to per- per- + fung-, base of fungī to perform, function + -tōrius -tory1
Related forms
perfunctorily, adverb
perfunctoriness, noun
1, 2. negligent, heedless, thoughtless, uninterested.
1, 2. careful, diligent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for perfunctory
  • Many institutions provide only perfunctory advising and/or counseling.
  • The daughter remembers how she was too busy with city life to make anything more than a perfunctory phone call home.
  • The whole business seems rather perfunctory.
  • As the book proceeds, the stories and resolutions become more perfunctory.
  • Andrew has passed 14 years in a perfunctory, taciturn marriage.
  • The first order of business is to wrap up last season's cliffhanger, which the show does in rather perfunctory fashion.
  • Finishing and defending was one of the most perfunctory things I've ever done.
  • On the shelves the perfumes are arrayed in stout little laboratory bottles with perfunctory white labels.
  • Usually it is done in a pretty perfunctory way.
  • Hundreds of boatmen ferry tourists in and out of the sea cave in a perfunctory parade.
British Dictionary definitions for perfunctory


done superficially, only as a matter of routine; careless or cursory
dull or indifferent
Derived Forms
perfunctorily, adverb
perfunctoriness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin perfunctōrius negligent, from perfunctus dispatched, from perfungī to fulfil; see function
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perfunctory

1580s, from Late Latin perfunctorius "careless, negligent," literally "like one who wishes to get through a thing," from Latin perfungus, past participle of perfungi "discharge, busy oneself, get through," from per- "through" + fungi "perform" (see function (n.)). Related: Perfunctorily.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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