Pleonasm

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Pleonasm - pronounced, with the stress on the first syllable, PLEE-er-nazm, IPA: /ˈpliː ən ˌæz əm/ - is the use of unnecessary words: 'the use of more words in a sentence than are necessary to express the meaning', according to OED, which quotes the example 'a false lie'. This is a pleonasm because a lie is, by definition, false, and so the word 'false' is unnecessary and may be said to be pleonastic, otiose or redundant. Pleonasm may be used deliberately, e.g. for emphasis, but it is often a fault of style.

The adjective from 'pleonasm' is 'pleonastic' - pronounced, with the stress on the third syllable, plee-er-NAS-tik, IPA: /pliː ən ˈæs tɪk/.

Etymological note: The English word 'pleonasm' comes, through Latin, from the Greek πλεονασμὀς‚ (pleonasmos), which means 'superabundance, excess', and was used in the context of Grammar and Rhetoric to mean 'the use of redundant words'. The Greek word πλεονασμὀς is formed from πλὲον (pleon), the neuter form of the adjective πλὲιων (pleion), which means 'more'.

See further Tautology and Periphrasis.