ceafinney > pleonasms

From whence I came ...
Some of Charles's own favorite pleonasms

What is a pleonasm ?

Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines pleonasm as:

  1. redundancy of words in speaking or writing; the use of more words than necessary in expressing ideas.
  2. an instance of this.
  3. the redundant word or expression.

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

I have found pleonasms quite interesting and write them down whenever I encounter them in speech or print. One of my favorites is I was thinking in my own mind ..., all words of which are clearly necessary <sarcasm>, to avoid confusion with I was thinking in your own mind ..., which happens quite frequently. A terser statement would be I was thinking in my mind ..., but this still is unsatisfactory. A better statement would be I was thinking ..., and the speaker would trust that the listener would not suffer confusion about the thought occurring in someone else's mind.

Our modern age of acronyms is quite confusing. Take PIN number, pleonastic because PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. Some of these are included below.

To submit a pleonasm or for other relevant comments, email me. Enjoy !

Charles's own list

From rec.puzzles archive

11.5% APR (although "APR" means that interest is charged on the balance only)
ABM missile
ABS system
AC current
ACT test
APL programming language
ATM machine
BBS System
CAD design
CNN news network
DC current
DMZ zone
DOS operating system
GMT time
Geirangerfjorden (Fjord Fjord Fjord)
HIV virus
ISBN number
ISDN network
LCD display
LED diode
MIDI Interface
Mount Fujiyama (Mount Mountain)
NATO organization
NFS File System
PIN number
RAM (or ROM) memory
Rio Grande River (Big River River)
Ruidoso River (Noisy River River)
SALT talks or SALT treaty
SAT test
SCSI Interface
SEATO organization
START talks or START treaty
The La Brea Tar Pits (The The Tar Tar Pits)
The Los Altos Hills (The The Hills Hills)
VIN number
floccinoccinihlipilification (from 4 latin words meaning "nothing")
the hoi polloi (the the many)
hot water heater