Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:
Enough may be as good as a feast, but sometimes you want more than enough. That is when you reach for a pleonasm (pronounced PLEE-uh-naz-um), using more words than necessary to convey meaning. We get the word from the late Latin pleonasmus
, deriving in turn from the Greek pleonazein
, "to be superfluous." The Greek root is pleon
In rhetoric, a pleonasm is a praiseworthy excess of words for emphasis—or a fault of style, an irritating redundancy. It all depends on the skill of the writer.
T.S. Eliot: " 'Indirect crook'd' is forceful in Shakespeare; a mere pleonasm in Massinger."
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more
about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service
. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.