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Word of the Day - for Toastmasters everywhere
Monday 11th December 2023
Archive | Previous word | Today's word |

nugatory (adjective) NOO-ga-tury

Trifling, trivial, of no importance or value, futile.

When we see parliaments like ours kicked into the gutter by dictators, both in kingdoms and republics, it is foolish to wait until the dictator dies or collapses, and then do nothing but pick the poor old things up and try to scrape the mud off them: the only sane course is to take the step by which the dictatorship could have been anticipated and averted, and construct a political system for rapid positive work instead of slow nugatory work, made to fit into the twentieth century instead of into the sixteenth.

George Bernard Shaw, The Apple Cart (Preface). Amazon

It is true that Kitchener's expedition was motivated by a desire to nip French ambitions in the bud, but the presence of Marchand and his small band of men in a tumbledown fort was too nugatory to pose any real threat in the region or to form a sufficient French presence on the Nile (true, they vainly expected Menelik to ally with them).

William Boyd, The New York Times, 28 February 1988, New York Times
reviewing David Levering Lewis's The Race to Fashoda: European Colonialism and African Resistance in the Scramble for Africa. Amazon

The spirit of The Office inhabits this nugatory workplace comedy, but writer-director Greg Coolidge simply can't compete with Gervais et al in terms of comic observation and performance.

Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 5 January 2007, The Independent
reviewing the movie Employee of the Month. Amazon DVD Amazon DVD (Blu-Ray)

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