from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being beyond what is required or sufficient.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. In excess of what is required or sufficient.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. More than is wanted or is sufficient; rendered unnecessary by superabundance; unnecessary; useless; excessive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • More than is wanted or sufficient; unnecessary from being in excess of what is needed; excessive; redundant; needless: as, a composition abounding with superfluous words.
  • Supplied with superfluities; having somewhat beyond necessaries.
  • Doing more than what is called for; supererogatory.
  • Excessive.
  • In music, of intervals, augmented.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being
  • adj. more than is needed, desired, or required


Middle English, from Old French superflueux, from Latin superfluus, from superfluere, to overflow : super-, super- + fluere, to flow; see bhleu- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin superfluus ("superfluous"), from superfluō ("overflow"), from super ("above, over") + fluō ("flow"). Compare mellifluous and fluid, also from Latin. Literally corresponds to overflow, which is from Germanic, rather than Latin. (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I was trying to figure the meaning of the German word "überflüssig", which I knew had to be some combination of "super" (über) and "fluid-like" (flüssig). Super-fluid, superfluous!

    November 2, 2011

  • JM reckons a second chimney is superfluous.

    June 19, 2011

  • •It seems superfluous to mention it, but don't go swimming if you've been drinking alcohol.

    October 1, 2010