V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. done as a matter of routine or custom; 2. done superficially and in haste

Synonyms: careless, cursory, superficial, passing, automatic, standard, indifferent, offhand, casual, halfhearted, apathetic

Antonyms: diligent, precise, sincere, genial

Tips: Perfunctory is derived from a Latin word that means "to get through something or complete an action." Perfunctory is often used to describe actions that are done routinely, usually as a matter of custom or tradition. For example, in many countries, when people greet each other, they kiss on the cheek. In the U.S. this is considered a big deal and would be done with only select family and friends. In many European countries, a kiss is often perfunctory and done with little thought or special notice between people who have just met. Perfunctory can also be used to describe someone performing a task in haste, with little thought or consideration. This is more from the Latin origin of "getting through something" with minimal effort. Perfunctory is a good critique of someone who simply did the bare minimum to complete a task.

Usage Examples:

You could tell by the perfunctory manner in which he performed his job that he was ready to move on to something new. (careless, indifferent)

I was offended by his perfunctory approach to my annual review; I take those reviews very seriously and he clearly did not. (passing, cursory, indifferent)

Because Gene was a young man, his doctor performed only a perfunctory examination of his heart and missed the signs of developing heart disease. (passing, automatic, standard)

It was very evident that the thank-you note was only a perfunctory gesture, not a sincere one. (superficial, halfhearted)

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