A Word A Day : Superfluous

Friday, 18th January 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Adjective )

Pronunciation : so-pûr'flū-es

1. Being beyond what is required or sufficient

2. Possessing or spending more than enough or necessary

3. Serving no useful purpose, having no excuse for being


Middle English, from Old French superflueux, from Latin superfluus, from superfluere, to overflow - super- super- fluere, to flow


abounding, de trop, dispensable, excess, excessive, exorbitant, expendable, extravagant, extreme, fifth wheel, gratuitous, in excess, inessential, inordinate, lavish, leftover, needless, nonessential, overflowing, overmuch, pleonastic, profuse, redundant, remaining, residuary, spare, superabundant, supererogatory, superfluent, supernumerary, surplus, unasked, uncalled-for, unnecessary, unneeded, unrequired, unwanted, useless, very great


essential, important, necessary, needed, imperative, indispensable, irreplaceable


Superficial means not deep or penetrating emotionally or intellectually or of little substance or significance, while superfluous means more than is wanted or is sufficient or rendered unnecessary by superabundance.

Contextual Examples:

• Roughly 999 of the 1,000-page book's pages were superfluous.

• Andrew's attempt to repair the light bulb was superfluous, since the light bulb had already been repaired.

• He never took one step too many and always went to his destination by the shortest cut. He made no superfluous gestures and was never seen to be moved or agitated.

• But as time went on he led a more and more austere life, refusing everything superfluous and finally he accepted nothing but rye-bread once a week

• We distributed superfluous food to the needy.

Related Words:

superfluously : Adverb

superfluousness : Noun

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