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May 28, 2020

Word of the Day: Perfunctory

1 CQ

Word of the Day : August 16, 2017

perfunctory \per-FUNK-tuh-ree\ adjective


1 : characterized by routine or superficiality : mechanical

2 : lacking in interest or enthusiasm


Clearly exhausted after a long day on her feet, our server gave us only a perfunctory greeting before taking our drink orders.

"Yet avoiding the heat altogether and watching Netflix from the confines of your cool couch—even while performing a perfunctory sit-up or two—is not the way to stay healthy and active this summer." — Leslie Barker, The Dallas Morning News, 13 June 2017

Did You Know?

Perfunctory is a word whose origins are found entirely in Latin. It first appeared in English in the late 16th century and is derived from the Late Latin perfunctorius, meaning "done in a careless or superficial manner." (Perfunctorius was also borrowed for the synonymous, and now archaic, English adjective perfunctorious at around the same time.) Perfunctorius comes from the earlier Latin perfunctus, a past participle of perfungi, meaning "to accomplish" or "to get through with." That verb is formed by combining the prefix per-, meaning "through," with the verb fungi, meaning "to perform." Fungi can be found in the roots of such words as function, defunct, and fungible.

Aired August 16, 2017

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