the use of more words than those necessary to denote mere sense (as in the man he said) : redundancy
2 : an instance or example of pleonasm
‘‘Experimental fiction’ is a pleonasm.’
‘‘Obsessive writer’ is a pleonasm if ever there was one.’
‘And ‘hackneyed cliché’ is itself a pleonasm.’
‘Apollonius takes no thought for style, and his work is marked by frequent pleonasm, anacoluthon, etc.’
‘The phrase appears to make use of a deliberate rhetorical device known as pleonasm, a crafted redundancy that plays out the search for the most fitting expression.’
‘For all her pleonasm, for all her longwinded babbling, for all her pathetic redundancy, there is still so much that she will never, ever articulate.’
‘He doesn't say how long ‘lengthy’ is, but as ‘a lengthy sermon’ is a pleonasm, and as he's too good a writer to commit such an atrocity, one suspects pretty long.’
Did You Know?
Pleonasm, which stems via Late Latin from the Greek verb pleonazein ("to be excessive"), is a fancy word for "redundancy." It's related to our words "plus" and "plenty," and ultimately it goes back to the Greek word for "more," which is "pleōn." Pleonasm is commonly considered a fault of style, but it can also serve a useful function. "Extra" words can sometimes be helpful to a speaker or writer in getting a message across, adding emphasis, or simply adding an appealing sound and rhythm to a phrase - as, for example, with the pleonasm "I saw it with my own eyes!"