Late Latin pleonasmus, from Ancient Greek πλεονασμός (pleonasmós), from πλεονάζω (pleonázō, I am superfluous), from πλείων (pleíōn, more).


  • IPA(key): /ˈpliːənæzəm/
  • (file)


Examples (phrase)
  • “the two of them are both the same” (both is redundant)
  • “killed dead”

pleonasm (countable and uncountable, plural pleonasms)

  1. (uncountable, rhetoric) Redundancy in wording.
    • 1939, John Nicholas Hritzu, The Style of the Letters of St. Jerome, Catholic University of America Press, page 5,
      St. Jerome and St. Augustine are both sparing in the employment of the device of pleonasm.
    • 1989, Harold Riley, The Making of Mark: An Exploration, Mercer University Press, page 219,
      Indeed, pleonasm, the use of superfluous or redundant words, is only part of the broader features of that style, the expressions of which have been so thoroughly analyzed by Franz Neirynck2 and which for convenience will here be referred to as "dualisms."
    • 1993, Anthony Burgess, A Dead Man in Deptford,
      My salvation is in my Saviour who saveth me hence the redundancy and pleonasm of my asseveration.
  2. (countable) A phrase involving pleonasm; a phrase containing one or more words which are redundant because their meaning is expressed elsewhere in the phrase.

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