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1. the use of more words than necessary or an instance of this, such as a tiny little child
2. a word or phrase that is superfluous
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the use of words that are necessary neither for completeness of meaning nor, usually, for stylistic expressiveness. Although pleonasm is classified as a figure of speech, it is regarded as an extreme that borders on being a stylistic fault. The line between the two fluctuates and is determined by a period’s taste and its sense of proportion.

Pleonasm is common in conversational speech, where it and other figures of speech are forms of the natural redundancy of speech; an example of pleonasm is found in the sentence Svoimi glazami videi (“I saw it with my own eyes”). In folklore, pleonasm acquires stylistic expressiveness, as in put’-doroga (“path-road”), more-okean (“sea-ocean”), and grust’-toska (“sorrow-grief”). In literature, some styles have cultivated pleonasm, among these the embellished style of classical rhetoric. Other styles, including the “simple style,” avoid pleonasm.

A figura etimologica is an intensified form of pleonasm, in which words having the same roots are repeated, as in shutki shutit’ (“to joke”) and ogorod gorodit’ (“to make a fuss”). Sometimes an extreme form of pleonasm, in which the very same words are repeated, is called a tautology. In contemporary stylistic criticism, however, the concept of tautology is often identified with pleonasm.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Redundancy of expression; tautology.
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Target words consisted of 76 words belonging to the following categories: 27 neutral words (these words are frequent words of Portuguese, basic and with no relation to the morphological chains under focus); 12 pseudo--words (created ad hoc for this investigation); 13 frequent evaluative suffixed words (evaluative nouns and adjectives with pleonastic suffixation that are frequent in Portuguese, according to corpora.
In the light of this assumption, the present paper has been conceived with the following objectives: (a) to analyse the distribution of pleonastic that in a corpus of early English medical writing (1375-1700); (b) to classify the construction in terms of the different types of medical texts; and (c) to assess the decline of the construction throughout the Early Modern English period.
The disappearance of the causative and the pleonastic schemata constitute systemic changes, since the first has sustained an overall decrease, and the latter has ceased altogether.
(78) Among others, "armen Parias" (79) is one of the most obvious ethnophaulistic formulation used to alternatively refer the Gypsies as an unworthy poor, by making use of a seemingly pleonastic construction.
They also include empirical studies of such topics as negative polarity items, pleonastic negation, the interaction of negatives with quantification in syntax and morphology, and the form and function of negation and negative polarity in specific languages.
Pity the fool, either radiologist or clinician, who must slog through such pleonastic bathos to glean a few meager shards of useful data.
Ensconced within the redundant proprieties of pleonastic legalese, these prosaic "informations" seem to image enclosure and rule upon the page, their typeset blocked and orthogonal.
In setting forth the theory of realization, which refers to "an event of fulfillment or confirmation in realizing the agent's intention or goal in carrying out an action", Talmy postulates four verbal patterns, namely, (i) intrinsic-fulfillment verbs co-occurring with a further event satellite (2), (ii) moot-fulfillment verbs co-occurring with a fulfillment satellite, (iii) implied-fulfillment verbs co-occurring with a confirmation satellite, and (iv) attained-fulfillment verbs co-occurring with a pleonastic satellite.
The other five finalists of this year's program include Sand by Alvin Easter (USA), The Breadwinner by Robert Heydon (Canada), Pleonastic by Samuel Kiehoon Lee (Korea), Tafahum by Omar Saleh (Jordan) and Jose by Michael Rousselet and Erik Sandoval (USA).
The other five finalists of this year's program include; "Sand" by Alvin Easter (USA); "The Breadwinner" by Robert Heydon (Canada); "Pleonastic" by Samuel Kiehoon Lee (Korea); "Tafahum" by Omar Saleh (Jordan); and "Jose" by Michael Rousselet and Erik Sandoval (USA).
In one text we have the boy's "stairs" and his later arising from bed, the pleonastic insistence on the space of the body ("cephalic fomentations to the head"), as well as the second boy who stutters most when lying down.