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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pleonasm \Ple"o*nasm\,, n. [L. pleonasmus, Gr. ?, fr. ? to be more than enough, to abound, fr.?, neut. of ?, more, compar. of ? much. See Full, a., and cf. Poly-, Plus.] (Rhet.) Redundancy of language in speaking or writing; the use of more words than are necessary to express the idea; as, I saw it with my own eyes.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"redundancy in words," 1580s, from Late Latin pleonasmus, from Greek pleonasmos, from pleonazein "to be more than enough, to be superfluous," in grammatical use, "to add superfluously," from comb. form of pleon "more" (see pleio-).


n. 1 (context uncountable rhetoric English) redundancy in wording. 2 (context countable English) A phrase involving pleonasm, that is, a phrase in which one or more words are redundant as their meaning is expressed elsewhere in the phrase.


n. using more words than necessary; "a tiny little child"


Pleonasm (; , ) is the use of more words or parts of words than is necessary or sufficient for clear expression: examples are black darkness, burning fire, or people's democracy. Such redundancy is, by traditional rhetorical criteria, a manifestation of tautology. That being said, people may use a pleonasm for emphasis or because the phrase has already become established in a certain form.

Usage examples of "pleonasm".

Young policemen try to find variations on this abominable phrase: a notion of diminishing its brutality through euphemism and cliche: a pleonasm since every euphemism is a cliche.