• synonyms


[plee-uh-naz-uh m]
See more synonyms for pleonasm on Thesaurus.com
  1. the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy.
  2. an instance of this, as free gift or true fact.
  3. a redundant word or expression.
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Origin of pleonasm

1580–90; < Late Latin pleonasmus < Greek pleonasmós redundancy, surplus, derivative of pleonázein to be or have more than enough, itself derivative of pleíōn more (see pleo-)
Related formsple·o·nas·tic, adjectiveple·o·nas·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pleonasm

diffusion, rhetoric, redundancy, garrulity, copiousness, verbosity, circumlocution, diffuseness, verboseness, verbiage, loquacity, prolixity, repetition, logorrhea, tautology, loquaciousness, redundance, wordage

Examples from the Web for pleonasm

Historical Examples of pleonasm

  • Ignorance of the true meaning of a word often leads to pleonasm.

    The Romance of Words (4th ed.)

    Ernest Weekley

  • What is pleonasm in a single sentence is ellipsis in a double one.

  • These are instances of pleonasm in the strictest sense of the term.

  • We have spoken of "true worship;" the expression is a pleonasm.

    The Articles of Faith

    James E. Talmage

  • The pleonasm is explained by the divergence of French and ME.

British Dictionary definitions for pleonasm


noun rhetoric
  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
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Derived Formspleonastic, adjectivepleonastically, adverb

Word Origin for pleonasm

C16: from Latin pleonasmus, from Greek pleonasmos excess, from pleonazein to be redundant
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

Word Origin and History for pleonasm


"redundancy in words," 1580s, from Late Latin pleonasmus, from Greek pleonasmos, from pleonazein "to be more than enough, to be superfluous," in grammatical use, "to add superfluously," from comb. form of pleon "more" (see pleio-).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pleonasm in Medicine


  1. An excess in the number or size of parts.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.