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[taw-tol-uh-jee] /tɔˈtɒl ə dʒi/
noun, plural tautologies.
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.
  1. a compound propositional form all of whose instances are true, as “A or not A.”.
  2. an instance of such a form, as “This candidate will win or will not win.”.
Origin of tautology
1570-80; < Late Latin tautologia < Greek tautología. See tauto-, -logy
Related forms
[tawt-l-oj-i-kuh l] /ˌtɔt lˈɒdʒ ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
tautologic, tautologous
[taw-tol-uh-guh s] /tɔˈtɒl ə gəs/ (Show IPA),
tautologically, tautologously, adverb
tautologist, noun
nontautological, adjective
nontautologically, adverb
untautological, adjective
untautologically, adverb
Can be confused
redundancy, tautology. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for tautology


noun (pl) -gies
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 out Compare inconsistency (sense 3), contingency (sense 5)
Derived Forms
tautological (ˌtɔːtəˈlɒdʒɪkəl), tautologic, tautologous, adjective
tautologically, tautologously, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin tautologia, from Greek, from tautologos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tautology

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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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