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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 performed with funk music.
  • One which is performed on stage in front of many people.
  • One which lacks spirit and is done carelessly.
Definition

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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  • At one end of the [fantasy cinema] spectrum are sword-and-sorcery sagas set in exotic places. At the other end are science-fiction stories, which are more grounded in reality, but use their futuristic technologies as perfunctory backdrops for magical adventures. —The Christian Science Monitor
  • Every four years, the House and Senate come together to formally tabulate the electoral votes and raise any final concerns about the results. Normally, it is a perfunctory confirmation of the Electoral College vote. —The New York 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