Word of the DayThursday, April 13, 2000
\pur-FUNGK-tuh-ree\ , adjective;
Done merely to carry out a duty; performed mechanically or routinely.
Lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent.
The city's moderate hotels, however, tend to offer minimal comforts, perfunctory service and dreary decor.
-- Paula Butturini, "What's Doing in Naples", New York Times, April 14, 1996
The mainstream media's coverage of hard economic data used to be perfunctory: a spot of news about the direction of interest rates, or a calculation of how the dollar was holding up against the yen.
-- Robert H. Frank, "Safety in Numbers: The wild stock market is turning us all into macroeconomic-data junkies", New York Times Magazine, November 28, 1999
His hugs, although expansive and affectionate, did not linger, seemed perfunctory.
-- Susan Bordo, The Male Body
Perfunctory derives from Late Latin perfunctorius, from Latin perfungi, to perform fully, to get done with, from per-, through + fungi, to perform.
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