pleonasm

noun
ple·​o·​nasm | \ˈplē-ə-ˌna-zəm \

Definition of pleonasm 

1 : the use of more words than those necessary to denote mere sense (as in the man he said) : redundancy

2 : an instance or example of pleonasm

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pleonasm

pleonastic \ˌplē-​ə-​ˈna-​stik \ adjective
pleonastically \ˌplē-​ə-​ˈna-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Did You Know?

Pleonasm, which stems via Late Latin from the Greek verb pleonazein ("to be excessive"), is a fancy word for "redundancy." It's related to our words "plus" and "plenty," and ultimately it goes back to the Greek word for "more," which is "pleōn." Pleonasm is commonly considered a fault of style, but it can also serve a useful function. "Extra" words can sometimes be helpful to a speaker or writer in getting a message across, adding emphasis, or simply adding an appealing sound and rhythm to a phrase - as, for example, with the pleonasm "I saw it with my own eyes!"

First Known Use of pleonasm

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pleonasm

Late Latin pleonasmus, from Greek pleonasmos, from pleonazein to be excessive, from pleiōn, pleōn more — more at plus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pleonasm

Listen to Our Podcast about pleonasm

Statistics for pleonasm

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pleonasm

The first known use of pleonasm was in 1610

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on pleonasm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pleonasm

Nglish: Translation of pleonasm for Spanish Speakers

Comments on pleonasm

What made you want to look up pleonasm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!