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perfunctory

[per-fuhngk-tuh-ree]
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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.
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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 formsper·func·to·ri·ly, adverbper·func·to·ri·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1, 2. negligent, heedless, thoughtless, uninterested.

Antonyms

1, 2. careful, diligent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for perfunctorily

Historical Examples

  • Renouard, perfunctorily, did see no reason why he should make a long stay.

    Within the Tides

    Joseph Conrad

  • He asked where she was going, a conventional question, perfunctorily put.

    The Wrong Woman

    Charles D. Stewart

  • She moved about perfunctorily, with an air of preoccupation.

    Jewel

    Clara Louise Burnham

  • They tried him, formally if perfunctorily; he admitted his imposture, and begged for his life.

    Northern Lights

    Gilbert Parker

  • They applauded vociferously but perfunctorily, in order to appear to understand.

    The Octopus

    Frank Norris


British Dictionary definitions for perfunctorily

perfunctory

adjective
  1. done superficially, only as a matter of routine; careless or cursory
  2. dull or indifferent
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Derived Formsperfunctorily, adverbperfunctoriness, 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

Word Origin and History for perfunctorily

perfunctory

adj.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper