ple·​o·​nasm | \ ˈplē-ə-ˌna-zəm How to pronounce pleonasm (audio) \

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

Other Words from pleonasm

pleonastic \ ˌplē-​ə-​ˈna-​stik How to pronounce pleonasm (audio) \ adjective
pleonastically \ ˌplē-​ə-​ˈna-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pleonasm (audio) \ adverb

Did you know?

Pleonasm, which stems (via Late Latin) from the Greek verb pleonazein, meaning "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

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The first known use of pleonasm was in 1610

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Cite this Entry

“Pleonasm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pleonasm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pleonasm

Nglish: Translation of pleonasm for Spanish Speakers


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