- Something done in a routine manner, hastily, with only superficial effort
- Something that lacks interest and enthusiasm, apathetic, no concern, indifferent
Etymology: The word perfunctory comes originally from the Latin word perfunctorius, which means careless or negligent. The literal translation for this Latin word from the 1580s would be, “behaving like one who wishes to get through a thing.”
The root word is the Latin perfungus, which means to “busy oneself” or “to get through” a task. That word can be further broken down into the prefix per-, which means “through”, and the verb fungi, which means “to perform.” Together they create the meaning of performing a task in a way to just get through it.
In a Sentence
The exhausted guard couldn’t wait for his shift to be over and waved the vehicles through after only a perfunctory inspection.
Once Carl knew he wouldn’t get the promotion, he stopped volunteering and performed his job in a perfunctory manner.
The career politician found it difficult to keep mustering excitement during campaign events and gave his speeches in a perfunctory way.