How would you call a very insignificant product improvement? Think in the context of a company that creates a very careless add-on to a last-year product just to claim that now the product is new and improved when in fact the improvement has no added value?

My take, which is way too wordy: a cosmetic afterthought with little purpose.

Any shorter version?

  • Well, in most cases it's just "New!" or "Improved!" or "Advanced!" or some such. (The exclamation point is mandatory.) – Hot Licks Jun 13 '16 at 20:33
  • Useless variant, non functional. – vickyace Jun 13 '16 at 20:41
  • Are you familiar with SFTR? Its what you call this when the govt issues a procurement request for an updated replacement. In one howler, the government bought a Specific Force Integrating Resolver, which was widely believed to be a backronym of same frigging instrument, renamed. – Phil Sweet Jun 13 '16 at 22:10

A single word for this escapes me, but there are many options if you simply find synonyms for insignificant and improvement that imply value specifically.

trivial (adj.)
Of little value or importance
"That is a trivial addition."

negligible (adj.)
So small or unimportant as to be not worth considering; insignificant
"That is a negligible add-on."

paltry (adj.)
Petty; trivial
"That is a paltry variant."

I personally feel that trivial is your best bet because it can imply value specifically, but any of these could work.



a method or trick that is used to get people's attention or to sell something

Here's a good example of the word used in this way:

Americans have made it clear: They don’t want a lot of gimmicks in their TVs.

In an effort to improve sales, though, television makers have tried gimmicks anyway. They have praised 3-D TVs. They have promoted voice controls. And they have highlighted Internet-streaming interfaces. NYT

  • Gimmick would make the insignificant improvement a trick instead of a simple pointless addition. – Adam Jun 13 '16 at 21:45

Marginal meets the requirements of your original question.

Marginal: at the outer or lower limits; minimal for requirements; almost insufficient: marginal subsistence; marginal ability.

Usage example:

The Marvelous Margin Maker showed marginal improvements in 2016.


superficial /ˌso͞opərˈfiSHəl/ adjective

appearing to be true or real only until examined more closely.
not thorough, deep, or complete; cursory. –Google

The superficial difference between a Bentley and a Rolls-Royce is the addition of a superfluous nameplate.

superfluous /so͞oˈpərflo͞oəs/ adjective

unnecessary, especially through being more than enough. –Google

I think that 'superficial' nails it on the head, so this may have been a superfluous edit (but it was the first word that came to mind).


Your [title] header says “insignificant,” but your [question’s] body says “no added value.”
To the extent that it’s true that “no means no,” I’d go with:
“worthless addition.”
(seemingly relevant use from gamefaqs[dot]com)

If insignificant means insignificant, by using Dictionary[dot]com’s fifth meaning for that adjective (without meaning; meaningless) you could go with:
“meaningless addition.”
(seemingly relevant use from dpreview[dot]com)

Returning to “worthless addition” in closing (cf: etymonline[dot]com), for a single word you could consider:
“makeweight’, which Merriam-Webster defines as a noun meaning:
“b : something of little independent value thrown in to fill a gap,”
or else go with the obsolete meaning of
“2. Obsolete: an addition of little or no importance, as to a literary work”
(from Dictionary[dot]com)

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