- needless repetition of an idea, especially in words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness, as in “widow woman.”
- an instance of such repetition.
- a compound propositional form all of whose instances are true, as “A or not A.”
- an instance of such a form, as “This candidate will win or will not win.”
Origin of tautology
Examples from the Web for tautological
A tautological sentence, perhaps, but one that nevertheless needs to be repeated and understood.Michael Tomasky: Why Mitt Romney’s Opportunity Tack Won’t Work
December 27, 2011
The tautological blame always comes back to the claim that frivolous or even fraudulent lawsuits are commonplace.Scalding Takedown on Tort Reform
Gerald L. Shargel
June 24, 2011
I never copy what I write to you, so I may be often tautological, or perhaps contradictory.The Letters of Robert Burns
The catalogue should complement the arrangement on the shelves, and not be tautological.The Private Library
Arthur L. Humphreys
The exuberant expression is not tautological, but emotional.The Expositor's Bible: The Psalms, Vol. 2
In truth, the statement that substance is permanent, is tautological.The Critique of Pure Reason
The only point on which remark open to criticism is that it is tautological.
- the use of words that merely repeat elements of the meaning already conveyed, as in the sentence Will these supplies be adequate enough? in place of Will these supplies be adequate?
- logic a statement that is always true, esp a truth-functional expression that takes the value true for all combinations of values of its components, as in either the sun is out or the sun is not outCompare inconsistency (def. 3), contingency (def. 5)
Word Origin and History for tautological
1570s, from Late Latin tautologia "representation of the same thing," from Greek tautologia, from tautologos "repeating what has been said," from tauto "the same" + -logos "saying," related to legein "to say" (see lecture (n.)).