Superfluous pleonasms

Today is a good day because I get to use two of my favorite words in the same post. These words aren’t important in and of themselves; I just like the way they sound. They are pleonasm and superfluous.  I also like onomatopoeia, but that’s fodder for a different post. “Pleonasm” and “superfluous” fall under the redundancy rubric, and they both have a subtly humorous connotation or affect – at least for me. 


Here’s my list


ATM machine 

absolutely essential

advance warning

attach together

boiling hot

close proximity 

combined together 

completely destroyed 

descend down

end result

exactly the same

exact replica

fall down

attach together

basic fundamentals

foreign imports

free gift

refer back

see with one’s own eyes

sum total

tuna fish

A common pleonasm is from whence. Because whence means from where, this phrase means from from where.

please RSVP (please Repondez S’il Vous Plait: is French for “please respond if you please” or please please respond)



About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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6 Responses to Superfluous pleonasms

  1. Pentad says:

    Oi. I’m sure I’m guilty of this. I’ll be more careful. Thanks.

  2. legbamel says:

    I don’t know about “from whence”, Rob. I regard that as a colloquialism rather than redundant speech. World Wide Words makes that argument as well and points out the phrases use as far back as the thirteenth century. These days, I’d say that the proper use would be more likely to disrupt your audience’s concentration than the phrase. It depends on the sentence and the setting, but as a rule I use “from whence”, especially when referring to super-villains from heck. 😛

  3. Robin Easton says:

    Oh well, might as well burn me at the stake. I’m guilty on all counts!!!:) Just give me some ‘advance warning’ before you light the fire! Hugs to you my friend. Just came by to pester you! 🙂 🙂 Robin

  4. Sunshine says:

    Thanks for the post… I really, really enjoyed your blog….
    was the post a deliberate mistake? Good stuff… thanks

  5. Lulubelle B says:

    Hi Rob –

    How ’bout these?

    > general consensus
    > The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    – Lulu

  6. Billy the D says:

    right out of the “department of the redundancy department”.

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