Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

Word of the Day
Monday, September 10, 2018

Definitions for tautology

  1. 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.”
  2. an instance of such repetition.
  3. Logic. a. a compound propositional form all of whose instances are true, as “A or not A.” b. an instance of such a form, as “This candidate will win or will not win.”

Learn something
new every day


GET OUR


Thank youfor signing up
Get the Word of the Day Email
Citations for tautology
Take away perspective and you are stranded in a universal present, something akin, weirdly, to the unhistoried — and, at the risk of tautology, perspective-less — art of the Middle Ages. Geoff Dyer, "Andreas Gursky's photos visually articulate the world around us, framing modern society," Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2015
... the central moral question is whether we are going to use the language of tautology and self-justification – one that gives us alone the right to be called reasonable and human – or whether we labour to discover other ways of speaking and imagining. Rowan Williams, "What Orwell can teach us about the language of terror and war," The Guardian, December 12, 2015
Origin of tautology
1570-1580
Tautology comes from Late Latin tautologia, a borrowing of a Hellenistic Greek rhetorical term tautología “repetition of something already said.” The second half of tautology is clear enough, being the same suffix as in theology or philology. The first element tauto- needs some clarification: it comes from tò autó “the same,” formed from the neuter singular of the definite article and the third person pronoun (the combination of tò autó to tautó is called krâsis “mixture,” which appears in idiosyncrasy “personal temperament”—a “personal blend” as it were. Tautology entered English in the 16th century.