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How to pronounce pleonasm (audio)


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Dictionary definition of pleonasm

The use of more words than necessary to express an idea, often resulting in redundancy or superfluity.
"The phrase 'free gift' is a classic example of a pleonasm."

Detailed meaning of pleonasm

A pleonasm can take many forms, including the use of unnecessary adjectives, adverbs, or prepositional phrases. It can also involve repeating words or phrases that convey the same meaning, or using two words together that have the same or similar meanings. Pleonasms are often used unintentionally and can be considered a type of linguistic error, as they add unnecessary complexity to a sentence without adding any additional meaning. In some cases, however, pleonasms can be used intentionally for emphasis or effect. Overall, the term 'pleonasm' is used to describe a linguistic phenomenon that involves the use of unnecessary or redundant words, phrases, or expressions.

Example sentences containing pleonasm

1. Her speech was riddled with pleonasm, making it overly verbose.
2. A pleonasm can often make language seem redundant.
3. In his essay, he pointed out the pleonasm and suggested concise alternatives.
4. The use of "ATM machine" is a pleonasm, as the "M" already stands for "machine."
5. The teacher urged students to avoid pleonasm in their writing.
6. "Tuna fish" is a pleonasm since tuna are always fish.
7. Some poets use pleonasm for stylistic or rhythmic reasons.

History and etymology of pleonasm

The noun 'pleonasm' draws its etymology from the Greek word 'pleonasmos,' which originates from 'pleon,' meaning 'more,' and 'asma,' signifying 'expression' or 'phrase.' The essence of this etymology is reflected in the concept of pleonasm itself, which involves the use of more words than necessary to convey an idea. It underscores the idea of excess or surplus in linguistic expression. Over time, this term was incorporated into English as 'pleonasm,' highlighting the notion of redundancy or superfluity in language. Thus, the word's etymology aptly mirrors its meaning, emphasizing the use of excessive or unnecessary words in communication.

Quiz: Find the meaning of pleonasm

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Further usage examples of pleonasm

1. To enhance clarity, it's essential to recognize and remove pleonasm.
2. In many cultures, pleonasm is common in everyday speech.
3. The editor circled every pleonasm, making the manuscript much cleaner.
4. "Return back" is a pleonasm, as "return" implies going back.
5. Some people argue that pleonasm adds emphasis, while others see it as unnecessary repetition.
6. The document would be much shorter without the frequent use of pleonasm.
7. Many idiomatic expressions in English contain a pleonasm.
8. Using a pleonasm can sometimes lead to misunderstandings in communication.
9. The speaker's heavy reliance on pleonasm made the lecture tedious.
10. A pleonasm, while sometimes unintentional, can dilute the impact of a message.
11. Editors are trained to spot and correct instances of pleonasm.
12. Though some people enjoy using pleonasm for rhetorical effect, others consider it a flaw in speech or writing.
13. Her speech was filled with unnecessary pleonasm, making it hard to follow.
14. In concise writing, pleonasm should be avoided at all costs.
15. The author's pleonasm detracted from the clarity of the text.
16. His explanation contained a pleonasm that confused the audience.
17. Good editing can help eliminate pleonasm from your writing.
18. The pleonasm in his argument weakened its impact.
19. Her essay was marred by excessive pleonasm.
20. Recognizing pleonasm is a skill that improves with practice.
21. The pleonasm in the document made it overly verbose.
22. The professor emphasized the importance of avoiding pleonasm in essays.
23. Clear communication requires the elimination of pleonasm.



redundancy, conciseness, brevity, succinctness


Accuracy and Precision, Communication and Expression, Words and Language, Language and Expression 1

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