superfluous


superfluous
superfluous,[/p] surplus, supernumerary, extra, spare all describe what is above or beyond what is needed or indispensable.
Superfluous implies a superabundance or excess that requires elimination or pruning
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many people . . . found themselves superfluous and, in their turn, were compelled to emigrate— Handlin

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artists ... not tempted, as are those who work direct from nature, to transcribe superfluous detail because it happens to be before their eyes— Binyon

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Sometimes the term either loses its implication of richness of supply or places no emphasis on that idea and comes to mean little more than nonessential or dispensable, if circumstances require its sacrifice
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art, music, literature, and the like—in short . . . , superfluous things— Sherman

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gradually the heat, the exertion had consumed all superfluous energy— Hervey

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or unnecessary, useless, or needless
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authority, like a good educator, ought to aim at making itself superfluousInge

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Surplus applies to what remains over when what is needed or required for all present purposes has been used
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there will be no surplus wheat this year

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each year the surplus funds of the institution were invested

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the task of inducing those with surplus land to part with it voluntarily to the landless— Masani

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transporting its troops to Manchuria, giving it surplus airplanes— Richard Watts)
Supernumerary implies something added to a number that is normal, adequate, or prescribed; it need not necessarily suggest that there is no need or no use for what is added, though in reference to a physical condition it often implies a departure from the normal
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extra ribs, as well as other supernumerary internal parts— Science News Letter

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a supernumerary member of a cast used for mob scenes

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offered the supernumerary position of inspector general— Roucek

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Extra is often used in place of supernumerary
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buy a few extra Christmas presents in case someone has been forgotten

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was looking at Kitty as if she had suddenly sprouted an extra head— Rolfs

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but it may also apply to an addition not in number but in amount
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he was subjected to extra work as acting chairman of the House Committee—C. H. Lincoln

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or in price
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there is an extra charge for coffee

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Spare is often used in place of surplus but it carries a stronger suggestion of being held for future use, often a special use
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a spare suit of clothes

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the spare room is the guest room

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a pouch for carrying tobacco, tinder, and spare arrow-poison— Huntingford

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carry a spare tire for an automobile

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or of not having any demands on.it for a particular use
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he never has any spare cash

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bring along a little spare time, too, and some extra patience, to work these fast . . . streams of New England— Corey Ford

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or of being easily spared
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have you a spare cigarette on you?

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Analogous words: *supererogatory, gratuitous, uncalled-for, wanton: *profuse, lavish, prodigal, exuberant: *excessive, inordinate, extravagant, extreme

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Superfluous — Su*per flu*ous, a. [L. superfluus overflowing; super over, above + fluere to flow. See {Super }, and {Fluent}.] More than is wanted or is sufficient; rendered unnecessary by superabundance; unnecessary; useless; excessive; as, a superfluous price …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • superfluous — I adjective additional, adscititious, dispensable, duplicate, excess, excrescent, expendable, extra, extravagant, inessential, inordinate, lavish, luxuriant, luxurious, more than enough, more than sufficient, needless, overflowing, overmuch,… …   Law dictionary

  • superfluous — [sə pʉr′flo͞o əs, so͞opʉr′flo͞o əs] adj. [L superfluus < superfluere, to overflow: see SUPER & FLUCTUATE] 1. being more than is needed, useful, or wanted; surplus; excessive 2. not needed; unnecessary; irrelevant [a superfluous remark] 3. Obs …   English World dictionary

  • superfluous — early 15c. (earlier superflue, late 14c.), from L. superfluus unnecessary, lit. overflowing, from superfluere to overflow, from super over (see SUPER (Cf. super )) + fluere to flow (see FLUENT (Cf. fluent)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • superfluous — [adj] extra, unnecessary abounding, de trop, dispensable, excess, excessive, exorbitant, expendable, extravagant, extreme, gratuitous, inessential, in excess, inordinate, lavish, leftover, needless, nonessential, overflowing, overmuch, pleonastic …   New thesaurus

  • superfluous — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ unnecessary, especially through being more than enough. DERIVATIVES superfluity noun (pl. superfluities) superfluously adverb. ORIGIN Latin superfluus, from fluere to flow …   English terms dictionary

  • superfluous — [[t]suːpɜ͟ː(r)fluəs[/t]] ADJ GRADED Something that is superfluous is unnecessary or is no longer needed. My presence at the afternoon s proceedings was superfluous... I rid myself of many superfluous belongings and habits that bothered me. Syn:… …   English dictionary

  • superfluous — su|per|flu|ous [ su pɜrfluəs ] adjective FORMAL not needed or wanted: UNNECESSARY: Charlie gave him a look that made words superfluous. They were superfluous to requirements (=not required). ╾ su|per|flu|ous|ly adverb …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • superfluous — adjective 1) superfluous material Syn: surplus (to requirements), nonessential, redundant, unneeded, excess, extra, (to) spare, remaining, unused, left over, in excess, waste Ant: necessary, essential …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • superfluous — adjective /suːˈpɜːflu.əs,sjʊˈpɜːflu.əs,suːˈpɝːflu.əs/ in excess of what is required or sufficient With a full rain suit, I think carrying an umbrella is superfluous. Syn: excessive, extraneous, extra, pleonastic, supernumerary, surplus …   Wiktionary


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