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  • Adj.

perfunctory

per-FUHNGK-tuh-ree

Context
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The perfunctory performance of the band members left us feeling less than enthusiastic as they seemed to be uninterested in what they were doing. The lead singer didn’t even look out into the crowd as he perfunctorily went through what appeared to be a tired old routine. The band went through the motions in a perfunctory, unthinking manner, like they were unconcerned about both their music and the audience. The band broke up after this perfunctory and wooden performance, citing boredom as the main cause.

Quiz: What is a perfunctory act?

  • One which is musically inclined.
  • One which lacks spirit, and is done in a careless fashion.
  • One which is done on stage in front of many people.

Memory Hook
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Percy's Fun Factory Percy's fun factory used to be a lot of fun, but now that we've gone through Percy's fun factory 500 times, our enjoyment is nothing but perfunctory, despite the fact that Percy is our father and he gives us extra cotton candy each time we go through.

Examples
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  • The handsome, young staff have learned to keep pace with the crowds, but at peak times, service can feel a bit perfunctory. —Cooking Light
  • The problem with his exercise, and other domestic federal government and military exercises that feature perfunctory appearances by hurricanes and earthquakes, is that the 'worst case' ends up being fictional to the point of irrelevance. —The Washington Post
  • This book gives only perfunctory treatment to the Bloomsbury circle, and less than perfunctory treatment to the fecund areas of British cinema, music, and theater in this period. —BNET
  • Some are just perfunctory steam-table displays and salad bars that are heavy on the iceberg lettuce, while others are unbelievably opulent spreads with caviar and free-flowing champagne. —Los Angeles Times

Word Ingredients
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per- thoroughly
funct perform, complete
-ory of or relating to

To perform a task in a perfunctory fashion is to “thoroughly perform or complete” it in the sense of getting it over with as quickly as possible.

Word Constellation
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Perfunctory