AskDefine | Define superfluous

Dictionary Definition

superfluous adj
1 serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being; "otiose lines in a play"; "advice is wasted words" [syn: otiose, pointless, wasted]
2 more than is needed, desired, or required; "trying to lose excess weight"; "found some extra change lying on the dresser"; "yet another book on heraldry might be thought redundant"; "skills made redundant by technological advance"; "sleeping in the spare room"; "supernumerary ornamentation"; "it was supererogatory of her to gloat"; "delete superfluous (or unnecessary) words"; "extra ribs as well as other supernumerary internal parts"; "surplus cheese distributed to the needy" [syn: excess, extra, redundant, spare, supererogatory, supernumerary, surplus]

User Contributed Dictionary



From superfluus < superfluo < super- + fluo.


  • italbrac RP /suːˈpɜːflu.əs/ or /sjʊˈpɜːflu.əs/
  • italbrac US /suːˈpɝːflu.əs/


  1. In excess of what is required or sufficient.
    With a full rain suit, I think carrying an umbrella is superfluous.


excess of what is sufficient

Extensive Definition

The Superfluous Man () is a 19th century Russian literary concept. It relates to an individual, possibly of talent and capability, who does not fit into the state-centered pattern of employment. Often the individual is born into the upper class and is rich and affluent. He may pursue a military career and can often be seen as a fatalist. This is supported by the fact that superfluous men participate in duels and chances of fate such as gambling. Their actions can be attributed to their self destructive nature and their disregard for the social values and standards of the time. The consequence is a man who is filled with ennui, often causing distress to whatever occupies his attention which is often members of the opposite sex.
This character type originates out of Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, which inspired Pushkin to write his novel in verse Eugene Onegin. The main character being Eugene Onegin, a superfluous man. Many of Pushkin's short stories characterize superfluous men, notably The Queen of Spades. Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time also depicted a superfluous man as the hero of his novel. It must be noted that both authors, Pushkin and Lermontov died in duels. Albert Jay Nock earlier titled his autobiography Memoirs of a Superfluous Man.
superfluous in Czech: Zbytečný člověk
superfluous in Galician: Home superfluo

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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