follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

perfunctory

[per-fuhngk-tuh-ree] /pərˈfʌŋk tə ri/
adjective
1.
performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial:
perfunctory courtesy.
2.
lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic:
In his lectures he reveals himself to be merely a perfunctory speaker.
Origin
1575-1585
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
Synonyms
1, 2. negligent, heedless, thoughtless, uninterested.
Antonyms
1, 2. careful, diligent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples 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

perfunctory

/pəˈfʌŋktərɪ/
adjective
1.
done superficially, only as a matter of routine; careless or cursory
2.
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for perfunctory
perfunctory
1581, from L.L. perfunctorius "careless, negligent," lit. "like one who wishes to get through a thing," from L. perfungus, pp. of perfungi "discharge, get through," from per- "through" + fungi "perform" (see function).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for perfunctory

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for perfunctory

21
24
Scrabble Words With Friends