• 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


Examples from the Web for pleonastic

Historical Examples

  • "The universal opinion of all men" is a pleonastic expression often heard.

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • Soke means jurisdiction and sake and soke is but a pleonastic phrase, which means no more than soke.

    Domesday Book and Beyond

    Frederic William Maitland

  • This pleonastic use of a conjunction with the relative is common among illiterate writers and speakers to-day.

  • My banks, they are furnished,—the most straitest sect,—these are pleonastic expressions.

  • This very phrase held to service, standing alone, is the pleonastic definition of Slavery itself.

British Dictionary definitions for pleonastic


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

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 pleonastic


1778, with -ic + Greek pleonastos "abundant," from pleonazein (see pleonasm). Related: Pleonastical (1650s).

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"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

pleonastic 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.