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In a word: Pleonasm

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:

PLEONASM

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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

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, deriving in turn from the Greek

pleonazein

, "to be superfluous." The Greek root is

pleon

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, "more."

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.

Example:

T.S. Eliot: " 'Indirect crook'd' is forceful in Shakespeare; a mere pleonasm in Massinger."

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