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AWADmail Issue 440 - pleonasms

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language

Selections from examples sent by readers in response to our pleonasm contest. Also see the contest results.


My example of a pleonasm in Spanish: "Librería de libros", that is translated literally as 'Bookshop for books'.
-Belén Abad, Madrid, Spain (belenabad hotmail.com)

Here in Germany you often see the sign "coffee to go zum mitnehmen" which means "coffee to go to go".
-Katherine Reichelt, Germany (kstone.reichelt googlemail.com)

Just now, on Fox News, reporter Bret Baier describes Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's track record like this: "She has a history of doing it before."
-Kristi Hookom Brack, Portugal (kristi.hookombrack gmail.com)

My husband, John, submits "more perfect". Hmm, that one shows up in the Preamble to the US Constitution.
-Elizabeth Bolton, Mill Valley, California (lizzieb2 yahoo.com)

car wash is temporary (sic) closed for remodeling
Do you have to say that the "car wash is temporary (sic) closed for remodeling" if it's just closed for remodeling?
-Joaquin Franco (joaquin.franco mjn.com)

I remember, years ago in school, a classmate who couldn't quite keep up with what was going on, asked the teacher, "Please, Sir, repeat, again, one more time."
-Joel Ng, Malaysia (joelng.gps gmail.com)

One of my favorite pleonasms comes from the hit TV show, M*A*S*H. While conversing with a convalescing soldier, company clerk Radar O'Reilly asks him, "Where were you born originally?"
-Dannie Walker (huskstang mindspring.com)

Children under 12 and younger
Picture from a sign at Western Kentucky University: "Children under 12 and younger"
-Luke Bartlett, Bowling Green, Kentucky (luke.bartlett wku.edu)

A gem from my (college) students: The autobiography of her life.
-Alexis Melteff, Moscow, Russia (alanmeredith42 hotmail.com)

From the Supreme Court of the United States, no less!
"Where there is a need for a new remedial maritime rule, past precedent argues for our setting a judicially derived standard, subject of course to congressional revision."
Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 128 S. Ct. 2605, 2630 n.21 (2008)
-Douglas H. Ginsbur (douglas_h._ginsburg cadc.uscourts.gov)

100% perfection "100% perfection" (from a sticker on bananas).
-Wayne Reske, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (twentiethman hotmail.com)

Personal belongings: "Please remember to take all your personal belongings with you when you leave the bus/train/aircraft."
-Brian Williams, Luxembourg (bdw pt.lu)

The Dec 10, 2010 issue of the Hendersonville (NC) Times-News has an obituary with this line: "Before moving to Carolina Village, she was a 'former resident' of Flat Rock."
-Anne Green, Hendersonville, North Carolina (awwestbrook bellsouth.net)

You have successfully solved the puzzle I like to work the Washington Post daily crossword online. Completing the puzzle results in this popup message. I haven't yet figured out how to get the one that says I've unsuccessfully solved the puzzle.
-Duane Small, Syracuse, New York (dsmall twcny.rr.com)

A Jewish synagogue.
-Douglas Morris, Brentwood, Tennessee (douglas.morris comcast.net)

The first photo on this blog from the Sacramento Bee describes a lamp covered with "frozen snow".
-Ruth Reeser, Lowell, Michigan (r.reeser mac.com)

Except authorized vehicles only
The sign in the attached photo has more weight re its pleonasm content because the "Except" and "Only" authorized persons to whom it refers are connected to the US Senate, House, and Supreme Court. It was taken on a street near the Capitol and Supreme Court on Sep 9, 2008.
-Judy Miller, St. Louis, Missouri (millerjak yahoo.com)

Off the top of the head, least appreciated pleonasm: ...a variety of different... heard at least daily on radio and TV.
-Nat (kaynat c4.net)

I've got a million of them (from writing The Accidents of Style), but here's one that many guides don't cover: the redundant use of first when it's implicit that something is being done for the first time, or when first is paired with a verb that means doing something for the first time (such as create, invent, or discover).
Example: From "The Know It All" by A.J. Jacobs: "I remembered that machine guns, when they first were invented, got so hot they had to be cooled by water." (p. 327).
-Charles Harrington Elster (chelster juno.com)

Get 50% off or half price, whichever is less. The airline industry is a classic offender: "Please fasten seat belt while seated." And what about the small snack bag they hand out that had hundreds of peanuts decorating the entire bag and then add the statement in fine print, "Caution: Contains Nuts." Also, see this ad about 50% off vs half price.
-Richard L Wise, Salem, Massachusetts (rlw wiseadvice.biz)

I once called a company to inquire about the availability of an item, and the individual with whom I spoke said "If it's in stock, we have it."
-Marcia Bruton, New Smyrna Beach, Florida (cedarisland1 gmail.com)

"First Premier Bank's Holding Company was ranked number one in 2006." From: NorthWestern Energy Welcomes New Director to Board (link)
-Olivier Glassey-Tranguyen, Anaheim, California (olivier.gl ssey.net)

"Shrugging shoulders" is a common pleonasm. What else can one shrug?
-Michael Wolf (mcyberfloss gmail.com)

Many newspapers no longer write obituaries, instead publish obituaries written (and paid for) by family members. Unusual usages abound. More than once I have read that the deceased was a "former veteran" of one of the branches of the armed forces.
-Anne Green, Hendersonville, North Carolina (awwestbrook bellsouth.net)

Last year on a college campus I saw a sign noting that a "mock simulation" of an accident was going to be occurring as part of a wilderness first aid training.
-Anne Pernick, Portland, Oregon (annepern yahoo.com)

I come from the English-speaking part of Cameroon, Africa and a pleonasm that was very common there was the use of "Should in case..." It was very common to hear people say things like "Should in case you come when I am not there, leave me a note." It drove English teachers (like my mum) crazy.
-Helen Mankwai, Tucson, Arizona (ndepretty yahoo.com)

My favorite is from Sarah Palin: "Also too".
-Allison Zaum, Redwood City, California (aszaum yahoo.com)

Pleonasm = Palinism? Or the anthropomorphism of pleonasm. (Slate)
-Jerry White (jer.rry.yrw gmail.com)

My English teacher husband writhes at the use of: my own personal opinion.
-Annie Brown (anniembrown hotmail.com)

In my work as chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, I frequently see comments about "residential housing".
-Ken Simonson, Washington, DC (ksimonson erols.com)

Swinishly piggy.
-Sandra Nickel, Chexbres, Switzerland (sschlaepfer aol.com)

In Texas, where I live, you hear these a lot: cash money; tooth dentist; time clock.
-Janet Kopec (janet.kopec ncoic.org)

I found this jewel in a novel I edited in the early 1980s: She followed behind the man in front of her.
-Kate Daly, Langhorne, Pennsylvania (hammerwaterkate gmail.com)
News reports of crimes committed by an "armed gunman" are common.
-Greg Dowling Bloomer, Wisconsin (gdowling bloomer.net)

It's not unusual in US country speech to describe a broken object by saying, "It broke half in two" or even better, "It broke half in two in the middle."
-George Oberst, Berea, Kentucky (mail.gso gmail.com)

As seen on several "Mexican" restaurant menus: salsa sauce.
-John Sieverts (jsieverts hotmail.com)

Total abstinence.
-Dr. Christine Braunberger, Syracuse, New York (braunbec sunyocc.edu)

Immediate Financing Instantly!
I saw this while shopping for discount furniture and perpetrated a minor larceny. Here's a scan of my ill-gotten pleonasm.
-Clara L. Bergh, Houston Texas (clarab globalind.com)

My husband is full of pleonasms. In fact, he does it so often that my step-daughters and I have been known to write them down and post them on the refrigerator. Here's one of our favorites: "You have to be there to be present." This is his version of "You have to be present to win" so it may not strictly qualify as a pleonasm, but it's certainly got the extra words, just not the ones needed to truly express the idea.
-Cynthia Freeman, Philomath, Oregon (cynthia.freeman fiserv.com)

UMB Bank
Here in Missouri, we have a bank chain that used to be called United Missouri Bank. Lately, they have taken to calling it UMB, but their signage usually says UMB Bank.
-Lori Mueller, Jackson, Missouri (lori_mueller_930 hotmail.com)

As part of a question and answer portion of the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant, Caitlin Upton was asked by the questioner "Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?" Upton responded:
"I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some . . . people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over HERE in the US should help the US, uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children".
-Oliver Herzfeld (oherzfeld gmail.com)

Continuous digital video recording 24 hours a day
This picture was taken on I-75 in Kentucky last fall: "Continuous digital video recording 24 hours a day".
-Tom Byron, Marietta, Georgia (photom1946 comcast.net)

Save 20% off.
-Bruce Baldwin (bbaldwin2 gmail.com)

Man-eating cannibal.
-Patricia Wall (whizzper1 verizon.net)

An ad for the local mall tells me, they have, "plenty of ample parking".
-Bruce Bannerman (banner quixnet.net)

"Forcasted budget" is one of my favorite pleonasms, especially when used in an office setting by an overzealous coworker.
-Becky Hooper (rebeccajunehooper gmail.com)

"Within 30 feet or less" - from a newspaper in Tahoe City, CA.
"SALE! Up to 40% off or more"
"Are you both together?" -from a restaurant hostess
-Stephen Barr, Grass Valley, California (stephen.e.barr gmail.com)

Reiteration.
-Eleanor Espensen, Santa Monica, California (ellie2266 verizon.net)

Most common in our office: Brief summary.
-Alta D. Castro, Malaybalay City, Philippines (sooka engineer.com)

In my office, a few of the staff use the phrase "leaving out" when they are going to lunch or clocking out for the day.
-Susan De Angelis-Pfeffer, New York, New York (circe3cat hotmail.com)

First debut launch in the introduction of pleonasms!
How many times has iTunes been "launched"? (link)
How many times were Lego bricks "introduced"? (link)
Apparently it "debuts" better, because it's had practice! (link)
Is the final show of the season the "last premiere"? (link)
-Stuart Rogers, Toronto, Canada (srogers phoenix-geophysics.com)

Tomorrow marks the 69-year anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
-James Fitch, Santa Rosa, California (elnaco fitch.org)

My family has owned funeral homes in the Indianapolis area for many years. A while back many newspaper ads read:
Feeney-Hornak Funeral Homes
Pre Plan Ahead
-Martin T. Feeney, Greenwood, Indiana (martin.feeney comcast.net)

The communist regimes in Eastern Europe used to employ some real masters of propaganda who invented the term "people's democracy". They failed, and people's democracies were eventually replaced by (real) democracies.
-Paul Otavsky (otavsky prodigy.net)

A sign on a side door of a local hospital:
This Entrance Will Be Closed from 6 pm to 6 am
This Entrance Will Be Open from 6 am to 6 pm
-Robin Griffiths, Durban, South Africa (griffrob telkomsa.net)

There is a TV ad for a college offering legal assistant training, where the "student" says: I can help assist a lawyer.
-Donald Adams (adamsdross aol.com)

What I actually mean is...
-Andrew Jack, Australia (Andrew.Jack awm.gov.au)

Xerox copy.
-Michelle Frati, Manorville, New York (mfrati optonline.net)

Reminds me of an intro I had made of a guest speaker in the first year of my MBA, about a decade and half ago. My intro speech included a thank-you to him for coming to our campus to address the "future leaders of tomorrow". I was a bit ashamed of my gaffe and my classmates had a hearty laugh later at my expense.
-Pratik K. Singhi, Mumbai, India (pratiksinghi gmail.com)

Here are two examples: passing fad and close proximity.
-Aayesha Siddiqui, Cambridge, Massachusetts (aayesha.siddiqui gmail.com)

This egregious pleonasm is heard from kids, newscasters, and United States Presidents: "The reason why is because..." It is actually a double pleonasm. Many people attempt to repair it by whittling away either the 'why' or the 'because' - but the resulting phrases are still pleonasms. "The reason is because..." and "the reason why is..." can be whittled further to a simple "the reason is..."
-Alona Mendoza (alona1 gmail.com)

Surrounded on all sides.
-Deepinder Singh, New Delhi, India (goti32 hotmail.com)

My late husband's favorite was "She had a newborn baby."
-Joan Falk (joanfalk13 gmail.com) An all too common pleonasm, which I saw only yesterday in an ad in one of the Sunday magazines: new innovation.
-David Lieberfarb (dmlieb optonline.net)

My favorite pleonasm is from "Singin' in the Rain" when Lina Lamont, in her high squeaky voice says to the audience, "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
-Linda Wexler, Palm Harbor, Florida (linda.wexler nielsen.com)

At the airport: This is the last and final call for flight xyz.
-David Simpson, Wheathampstead, UK (david.simpson cobham.com)

There are so many pleonasms encountered every day: equal halves, completely full, hot steam.
-David Heiser (d345788 aol.com)

The recorded message on my health club's answerphone: "All of our receptionists are currently busy at the moment."
-John Rogers, London, UK (johnfiona.rogers btopenworld.com)

In Grenada, where I live, people always say they're going to "reverse back" when they are reversing a car.
-Heather Brathwaite, Grenada, West Indies (litmummy hotmail.com)

"No appointment always necessary" was a sign in the window of a beauty shop in Chicago during the '70s.
-JS Peterson (jproute66 gmail.com)

A pleonasm I hear every time I make a call to a certain person: I am currently unavailable to take your call right now.
-Marilyn Freese (marilynfreese gmail.com)

Television advertisement for a local restaurant: Rediscover Aunt Lucy's again.
-Caroline G. Rowlands, Kingston, Canada (rothorpe kingston.net)

An announcement heard on Amtrak's train number 68 travelling from Montreal to NYC on December 5th, 2010: "In approximately a few minutes, we will be arriving at . . . " To give the speaker credit, he was a high school intern on the train serving as a conductor -- under guidance, of course.
-Frank Bolton, Brooklyn, New York (fxbolton verizon.net)

I am a translator: English - Hungarian, and for decades have been confronted with bilingual pleonasms that drive me up the wall! E.g.: együttuködéses cooperation (guess what? Együttuködéses translates as cooperation) or a long-time favorite: muszaki-technikai (written in exactly this way). Technikai means "technical", and guess what muszaki means? If you said "technical" you are a winner!
-Patricia Austin, Budapest, Hungary (austin hu.inter.net)

I've seen these signs in several places in Latin America. The sign reads "We sell cold ice". (link)
-Ali Price, Columbia, Missouri (aliprice1 aol.com)

I can't think how many times I have heard on the Weather Channel that the coming storm was "headed northbound".
-Lorenz Rutz (lrutz myfairpoint.net)

Heard on a local radio station's weather forecast: Low-lying ground fog.
-Larry Friedman (disquod bellsouth.net)

Honest truth.
-Tom Snoeyink Hudsonville, Michigan (gvctom yahoo.com)

Month of January.
-Rukhsana Rahman, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania (rahmanrad yahoo.com)

Ear piercing while you wait. (link)
-Tiriel (butterley35 yahoo.co.uk)

When Culver City, California, incorporated in 1917, it became the City of Culver City, leading to statements such as "On June 7, 2010, the City Council of the City of Culver City adopted the 2008-2014 Draft Housing Element" (from their website). The City also runs a bus service called the Culver CityBus for short, or in full, the City of Culver City Culver CityBus. I don't know if that's a pleonasm or just ridiculous redundancy.
-Janis Walworth, Bellingham, Washington (janis gendersanity.com)

One of my favorite pleonasms is the official name of Sea Isle, New Jersey, which I visited often when I was younger. That is "City of Sea Isle City". There used to be (and might still be) a prominent sign reading, "Welcome to the City of Sea Isle City", but I cannot find a photo of that. The official tourism brochure, however, uses the redundant phrasing twice in its text. (link, pp 2, 22)
-Richard J. Barbalace, Somerville, Massachusetts (rjbarbal mit.edu)

Over exaggerate (this one kills me, because my boyfriend accuses me of it all the time, and I just want to scream, "It's not 'over exaggerate'! 'Exaggerate' alone will suffice!" But he persists . . . I almost said he STILL persists, but then I realized, that's another pleonasm.)
-Kate Huffman (KLiza2 hotmail.com)

An excellent (I mean, ghastly) one in medicine is the "retrospectoscope", an all-in-one Greco-Latin word, almost as bad as "looking back in hindsight". The retrospectoscope is a virtual piece of medical hardware with which doctors make judgements later as if they had known information earlier, as in "with the retrospectoscope I can see that the diagnosis is..." Spect- is from Latin specio (I see) and scope from Greek skopein skopein (to see). Do you see?
-Barry Wilkins, Sydney, Australia (barry1662 optusnet.com.au)

Multiple choice; pre-booked; already prepared; preordained; unnecessary tautology.
-David Churchill (david churchill21.plus.com)

Safe haven.
-Deane Clarkl Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (dg.clark hotmail.com)

My favourite personal pleonasm is: "I'll have a black coffee with no milk." This pleonasm came about because regardless of how many times I would order a black coffee either in a cafe or at a friends home, I would either be asked, "would you like milk with that", or my coffee would be served with milk. So I learned to not only ask for black coffee, but also to say, "with no milk!"
-Diana Dirck, Melbourne, Australia (diana vic.australis.com.au)

Hospital for Sick Children Hospital for Sick Children (a hospital in Toronto)
-Susan Andre, Calgary, Canada (sandre shaw.ca)

Redundant tautology.
-Marsha Levy, Quebec, Canada (marshalevy videotron.ca)

A pleonasm which has become fashionable in Britain is "on a regular basis", instead of simply "regularly".
-Barry Cavell, Surrey, UK (barry.cavell gmail.com)

I came across it when I was an editor of equity research materials at a well-known investment bank: "A seat-of-the-pants rule of thumb".
-Mary Fairchild, Kingston, New York (fairchildmary gmail.com)

Airport announcements asking someone to "Return back to the security checkpoint."
-Christopher L. Cahill, Washington DC (cahill gwu.edu)

Duplicate copy.
-Kim thompson, Bedford, Ohio (lynette786 sbcglobal.net)

I cleared my junk mail box and found an email with the subject line: Respond Back Immediately Now!
-Mary Treder, Cedaredge, Colorado (mct919 hotmail.com)

One of the local weather forecasters uses "outside" in pleonastic phrases such as: "It will be sunny outside tomorrow" and "Temperatures outside tonight will be in the 20s."
-George Tylutki, Hop Bottom, Pennsylvania (csoft epix.net)

TV appeal last evening in which a number of statements were made about taking a foster child. The statements were described as "false myths": this made me wonder if there are any "true myths". "False myth" would be a pleonasm, as would "true fact".
-Murray Falk, Calgary, Canada (clockman telus.net)

Live audience.
-Robin Yuran (ryuran biblio.org)

One of my favorites: the many times I've ordered a French Dip sandwich and the menu assured me it would come "with au jus".
-M. Diane Moss, Shoreline, Washington (mdianem seanet.com)

Numerous cookery programmes use the phrase "pre prepare".
-Peter Hipple, Wicklow, Ireland (hipple2 eircom.net)

It rankles whenever I hear, "delete out" or "exit out".
-Donald Stevens (donzostevens yahoo.com)

As an archaeologist currently reading four dissertation drafts, I'm waging something of a war against "time period", which all the students use. Other than dots at ends of sentences and in email addresses, what other kinds of periods are there?
-George Cowgill (cowgill asu.edu)

My current favorites: advance reservations, sometimes termed pre- (advance) reservations. Of course there just MAY be a way to make a reservation AFTER the fact -- I just haven't come across it. Also the mundane: most unique, very best, very sincerely (yours), absolutely last (chance), etc.
-Chat Reed, Shreveport, Louisiana (chat simonfitzgerald.com)

Easter Sunday.
-Merrilee Jaskulski (wesnsand aol.com)

A pleonasm I've seen too often recently in office memos and instructions to students is: mandatory requirement.
-Marni Hancock, Eugene, Oregon (mrh330 gmail.com)

From my students: "I was thinking in my mind to myself."
-Raina Joines, Denton, Texas (joines unt.edu)

Josh Groban's song by the title of "You Raise Me Up".
-Christine Mathers, Ladysmith, Canada (rowanfan gmail.com)

Last time I stayed at a hotel, the free breakfast featured a carafe clearly labeled "Fancy Gourmet Coffee". Needless to say, that made me feel like a special VIP.
-Anne Trominski, San Antonio, Texas (anne.trominski pearson.com)

The pleonasm I find most itchy is: Jewish rabbi.
-Vicki Streiff, Bloomington, Indiana (revsf kiva.net)

Exact replica.
-Linda Begelman (lindaluria aol.com)

You hit on one of my favourite pet peeves - the phrase "All New", featured in every TV promo since some marketing idiot thought of it decades ago. It implies that some episodes are only partially new, simply cobbled-together scenes from recycled shows.
-Randy Gulliver (ragulli sympatico.ca)

My favorite pleonasm is the old cliche, "Forewarned is forearmed"--by definition, a warning must be "fore" the event in question, right? I suppose "Warned is armed" lacks a little something, though.
-Adam Tamashasky, Washington, DC (tamashas american.edu)

I took a golf lesson once and the instructor wanted to video me so that I could "see visually" what my swing looked like. I answered that "seeing visually" was my favorite way to see something.
-Keith Weintraub, Irvington, New York (kw1958 gmail.com)

I have been waiting nearly 50 years to share this with people who understand the humor and redundancy of this expression!! Thanks for the opportunity. When I was taking Driver's Ed during the summer with my two best friends, our instructor was obviously frustrated at having three 16-year-old girls in the car. Dorth was having trouble parallel parking downtown and he told her she wasn't turning the wheel sufficiently fast enough, to do it faster, so she stepped on the gas! Even at that tender age we three, The Schrof Trio, knew better not to use what I now know is a pleonasm.
-Betsy Field, Peoria, Illinois (efield eureka.edu)

Invited guests.
-Toni Giarnese (jtgiarnese sbcglobal.net)

I was young, I thought only my family said "on account of because", but I heard someone use it on the radio recently. I believe the speaker must have come from the same part of Canada where my mother and her sibling were raised.
When I was very little, my cousin and I would be very hungry for dinner, which was always late because both our mothers worked. "Later" they would say to our pleas. We would remonstrate that it was 'later'. Finally they began to say "after later", to give us an idea of a long wait.
-Susan Grigor, Hagensborg, Canada (sgrigor belco.bc.ca)

I work as a translator/editor in several language pairs, and one task of clear and careful writing/editing is to eliminate pleonasms. My (least) favorite: potential risk.
-Matthew Schlecht, Newark, Delaware (matthew.f.schlecht gmail.com)

I've been in court when the clerk says, "I'll give you a future date to come back to court."
-Ellen Rosenthal, San Francisco (ellenellen516 sbcglobal.net)

General consensus; mass exodus.
-Robert T. McGowan (groundhogrobert gmail.com)

Murdered to death (heard on ABC news).
-PJ Smith, Arizona (ramblon97 yahoo.com)

There is an English-language newspaper in Japan that bears the masthead The Mainichi Daily. Mainichi translates as "everyday", "each day", or "daily".
-Dave Lehnert, Lincoln, Nebraska (pfanques gmail.com)

Academy of Learning My favourite pleonasm is: Academy of Learning
-Ryan Van Horne, Halifax, Canada (vanhorne.ryan gmail.com)

We have many of the same, mutual friends in common.
-Peirce Hammond, Washington, DC (peirce.hammond ed.gov)

Pages 2 - 250 of Glenn Beck's latest book.
-Josh Ronsen, Austin, Texas (joshronsen yahoo.com)

I worked for a local television station, and one news producer had a fascination with alliterations and imaginative phrases. Two of our OTSs (Over the shoulder on air graphics) were captioned:
"Deadly Drowning" and "Fiery Inferno".
-Jody Johnson, Green Bay, Wisconsin (jody.johnson wluk.com)

Illegal trespassers will be prosecuted.
-Avril Miranda, Navi Mumbai, India (avril.miranda patni.com)

My least favorite pleonasm is on the CoinStar change sorting machines that I see in various grocery stores: "Turn your change into cash!" (link). Do people not know that change is cash?
-Joan Tsao, Clinton, North Carolina (joantsao msn.com)

My test for a possible pleonasm is always to ask "As opposed to what?" Consider the entertaining images called to mind by "Oral mouthwash".
-Audrey Shilt, Atlanta, Georgia (abshilt aol.com)

I come across pleonasms not infrequently in my work as a nurse, but I don't complain. Better a repetitive pleonasm than a cancerous neoplasm.
-Marvant Duhon, Bloomington, Indiana (mduhon bluemarble.net)

Interesting that a pleonasm is a multiplicity of words while a neoplasm is a multiplicity of cells.
-Nina Klionsky, Rochester, New York (nina_klionsky urmc.rochester.edu)

We used to call these 'baby puppies'.
-Deborah Fassel (hedgehog_hollow sympatico.ca)

"x % sold out" (where x could be any number from 1 to 100). Seems to me it's either 50% sold, or it's sold out but not both. And it certainly doesn't need to be "100% sold out", ever.
-Jim Stevens, Whitby, Ontario, Canada (jim.stevens bell.ca)

"We are currently in the process of ______ing" instead of "We are _____ing."
-Stephen B. Weiner, Rockville, Maryland (sbweiner2 comcast.net)

Here is an example of a pleonasm for which I did not have to look very far. I decided to look up the word in the Visual Thesaurus, which I have not used before. On the opening page I read that this online magazine is "updated daily with fresh new content".
-Jeremy Woodley, Dundas, Canada (jdwoodley yahoo.co.uk)

I hope there is no photographic evidence, I hope they remain amended, but my caught-in-the-wilds pleonasms are "co-share" and "pre-prepared".
-Vikki Clingan (vikki.clingan deewr.gov.au)

This contest has been therapeutic in helping me vent about the many pleonasms in the law (legalnasms?). One that has galled me for years but is surprisingly ubiquitous even among otherwise good legal writers is "prior precedent" or "past precedent".
-James A. Shapiro, Maywood, Illinois (judgeshapiro earthlink.net)

This program was pre-recorded before a live studio audience.
-Daniel L. Hinman, Brady, Texas (wm5c hothog.org)

On Facebook, a friend of mine replied, "I see we are on the same [AWAD] email list. That's a chance coincidence (pleonasm intended)."
-Julie Jacobson (juliejacobson comcast.net)

I saw a car with a painted rear window that said "BFF forever".
-Amy Whinston (amy whinston.net)

Scheduled appointment; up north / down south.
-Lois Park, Flushing, New York (loispark gmail.com)

Our baseball team captured six straight consecutive games in a row without a loss.
-Jerr Boschee, Dallas, Texas (jerr orbis.net)

A news report in NYC, "the hit-and-run driver kept going."
-Robert McMillin (robmcmillin gmail.com)

"Baked fresh daily." There seems to be one of these signs in the storefront window of every deli, bakery, and donut shop.
-Bryon Nicoson (b.nicoson comcast.net)

For most of the summer the following handwritten sign could be seen in the window of a nearby deli: "Cold Gazpacho".
-Jane E. Herman, New York, New York (jherman0129 gmail.com)

One of our church leaders has a habit of asking the congregation to 'stand to your feet'.
-Debbie Smith (debbie_smith allenisd.org)

I ran across my favorite pleonasm when I worked on publications in a university administrative office, editing course catalogs and schedule booklets. One of the departments offered a course entitled "Disaster Emergency Preparedness Pre-Planning", which may be a quadruple pleonasm!
-Linda B. Sperath, Oxford, Mississippi (lsperath olemiss.edu)

"And that's a self-portrait of himself, by himself." -Richard Madeley
-Mary Gerrand, Port Sorell, Australia (bmgerrand1 bigpond.com)

I've often seen: Successful escape.
-Charles M. Stern, Los Angeles, California (charles.stern kattenlaw.com)

4-piece string quartet.
-Chris Hoctor, O'Fallon, Illinois (3hoctors att.net)

Write your signature by hand.
-Zach Shatz, Beijing, China (prismind hotmail.com)

"Often times." This drives me crazy every time I see it, which is often.
-Robert Erickson (titoerickson hotmail.com)

This is from an actual newscast of the Atlanta Olympics bombing July 27, 1996. The reporter said, "...it was a percussive and concussive explosion."
-Kim Redlin (kimredlin56 gmail.com)

Frozen ice.
-Bev Sierpina (bev.sierpina gmail.com)

Actually used in an email: online website.
-Lindis Elliott (lindiselliott yahoo.ca)

My favorite pleonasm lately has come while listening to the student radio station at the University of Illinois (WPGU). During a commercial encouraging students to get their pictures taken for the yearbook, it mentions that they can be "immortalized forever".
-Maurey D. Williamson, Monticello, Illinois (MaureyW hkusa.com)

Binding contract.
-Ben Warthen (benwarthen yahoo.com)

I still maintain...
-Rochelle Hamel, Tacoma, Washington (rochellehamel hotmail.com)

Untamed wilderness.
-Rosemary Lombard, Hillsboro, Oregon (rosemarydlombard yahoo.com)

I'll give Sir Walter Scott the benefit of the doubt and say he knew "from whence" was redundant, but he needed the syllable to make the line's rhythm work out (from the sixth canto of "Lay of the Last Minstrel":
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung.
Even in junior high (middle school, I guess they call it now) when we had to memorize and recite poetry I knew this was wrong.
-Sandra Kisner Ithaca, New York (sjk3 cornell.edu)

How about 'added bonus' (given to me by a friend, Maggie Butcher, in London)?
-David Gilbert (davidgilbert43 yahoo.co.uk)

Here's one a sports columnist in today's paper quoted a football announcer as saying: "What's their future going forward?"
-Russell Naiman (rnaiman aol.com)

An official in Virginia who ran out of road salt last winter said this on TV: "We are currently in the process of continuing our search to advance prospects of finding more salt."
-Amb. Thomas E. McNamara (Ret.), Washington DC (tedmcn22 gmail.com)

To share in common...
-Richard Block, Santa Fe, New Mexico (rablock cybermesa.com)

In my opinion, I think ...
-Anupa George, Mumbai, India (ageorge crisil.com)

It reminds me of a single word pleonasm my late Danish sister used often: "Gaveforæringspresent" gave=gift, foræring=to give a present, present=present
-Finn, Wappingers Falls, New York (fipo optonline.net)

"Rivals.com is reporting that Coach John Calipari and his staff have the number one recruiting class in the country for the second straight year in a row." Disk jockey on B92 in Lexington, June 2, 2010.
-Joe Crabtree, Versailles, Kentucky (crabtree engr.uky.edu)

I learned this word, as I learned many others, from reading Anthony Burgess. He said of some woman (perhaps his mother in Little Wilson and Big God) that she performed under the pleonastic title of "Beautiful Belle". Burgess could always use the right word in the right place without sounding pedantic. I learned to have a dictionary within reach when I sat down with one of his books.
-Jacque L Roethler, Iowa City, Iowa (jacque-roethler uiowa.edu)

I had a sales rep from a screen printing company who always used the phrase: "To be truthfully honest with you..."
-Jeffry Braun, Lincolndale, New York (supermozo aol.com)

I am a corporate lawyer and often deal with tax consultants as part of my job. I routinely hear people referring to "TDS deducted at source" which is a double pleonasm (TDS stands for Tax Deducted at Source). PS - Thinking about what I just did by coining the term "double pleonasm" is making my head hurt!
-Sridhar Gorthi, Mumbai, India (sridhar.gorthi trilegal.com)

My wife reminded me of one of our favorite examples of pleonasm. Calvin Trillin, in describing his rule for finding a restaurant in an unfamiliar city, said that he avoids eating in any place with a name like "La Maison de la Casa House".
-David Hayes (hayesdl sbcglobal.net)

New baby. This phrase never ceases to cause me to ask, "Who has ever seen an old baby."
-Barbara Hanselman, Cherry Hill, New Jersey (bhclaysmith gmail.com)

In our small Texas town, Hallettsville, a local restaurant offers the following:
Haricot Verts Green Beans
Roast Beef with Au Jus Gravy
-Cynthia Meredith, Hallettsville, Texas (micyn cvctx.com)

The most common pleonasm ever--of which I myself have been guilty: "I thought to myself."
-Leah Parker, Cincinnati, Ohio (parker1 fuse.net)

As an identical twin, one I have known the longest: Pair of twins (is this two people, or four?), two twins, set of twins.
-Lori Kohler, Tallahassee, Florida (Lori_Kohler dcf.state.fl.us)

My favourite (multiple) pleonasm, from a real essay written by a friend at school: "Both the two twins were the same age."
-Peter Bosher, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, UK (peter soundlinks.com)

Our public bar is presently not open because it is closed. Our public bar is presently not open because it is closed.
-Steve Morton, Westerville, Ohio (smorton affiniongroup.com)

Lecturer J.L. Austin noted that although there are many languages in which a double negative makes a positive, no example exists where two positives express a negative. In a dismissive voice, philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser replied from the audience, "Yeah, right."
-Jackson Craft, Raleigh, North Carolina (jackson_craft hotmail.com)

Enclosed herewith.
-Lilly McKeown (lmckeown magavern.com)

I hear it all too frequently: It's the exact same thing.
-Sherry Robinson, Fort Worth, Texas (sherryruns gmail.com)

Years ago, I needed to describe an invention for a patent attorney. I used the word "decrement". He didn't like that word, and instead used "increment in a decreasing manner". Sure enough, that's how the patent was issued.
-Bob Southard (southard yahoo.com)

Being a reader of mysteries, I come across "dead body" frequently and deem it a pleonasm in that context.
-Aïda Schneider (rogeraida verizon.net)

A favorite of mine, since I'm from the Philly area: Water ice.
-Darcy Silvers, Bristol, Pennsylvania (darcy_silvers lenox.com)

Do combined languages also create redundancy? A southern neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado is bisected by a street from which it derives its name: Table Mesa. The name of the street and the neighborhood carries over to many local destinations and businesses so that there is: Table Mesa Park-n-Ride, Table Mesa Shopping Center, Table Mesa Family Medicine, etc., and even the new cannabis dispensary Table Mesa Wellness Center.
-Stanford Gnagy, Denver, Colorado (stanford.gnagy gneocreative.com)

I have a family member (who shall remain nameless) who is a good source of pleonasms. She said recently, "We frequent there often."

-David Hoffman (david.hoffman columbiamanagement.com)

Please do not hesitate to feel free to call me.
-Brian Smith (daddyb.smith gmail.com)

The pleonasm I encounter most often is "and et cetera", which seems to be a common verbal trope here in the Upper Midwest.
-J.Z. Grover (jzgrover gmail.com)

Gradual time-release.
-Glenda Miller, Tieton, Washington (glendamillerster gmail.com)

Alleged suspect.
-Joyce Marie Miller (joycemarie verizon.net)

An unexpected surprise.
-Susan Glassmeyer, Cincinnati, Ohio (susannaglass yahoo.com)

I once worked for a father-and-son lawyer team. The father's English was precise and wonderful -- the son's was hopeless. In a letter, he once wrote, "with regard to the death of your late father, the late Mr. Jones ..."
-Rosemary Turpin (rlisetteturpin ican.net)

In high school I worked in a grocery store, helping carry groceries to a customer's car. Every now and then, two orders would go to the same car, and one of the customers would say, "We're both together." I used to think (but not say) "well, she looks together, but you...?"
-Richard N DeLiberty, Woodland, California (richard.n deliberty.net)

I'm a dermatologist. This pleonasm really bugs: skin rash.
-Vicki Perrigo, New Mexico (oreada12 msn.com)

In this day and age in which we live today.
-Sarah Putnam, Clemmons, North Carolina (sputnam01 att.net)

A sign I came across in Chicago: Women's Gyne Care.
-John Caperton (cprtn comcast.net)

About thirty years ago on Monday Night Football, everybody's least favorite commentator, Howard Cosell, described a player's foresight into what play the opposition would run by saying that the defender "anticipated it in advance".
-Neil Geismar (ngeismar yahoo.com)

At home, the one I use with my kids when they ask me if they can do something is: "We might possibly be able to do that." My 12-year-old daughter loves to say "exactly the same".
At work, we are reminded to "constantly maintain" good customer relationships. My boss is known for saying: Can you just change this a "tiny bit"?
-Karen Santiago, Worcester, Massachusetts (karenxsantiago msn.com)

An all-new episode of The Simpsons. I can't remember ever watching a partially new episode of a TV show.
-Steve Fox, Bethesda, Maryland (phixitphox gmail.com)

This comes from a briefing I received many years ago (but, obviously, I've never forgotten). I was working in a motor pool at an Air National Guard Base. The briefing was concerning vehicles that had been checked out and used and brought back to the motor pool. The briefer said that it was very important not to just accept the paperwork, but to physically inspect the vehicle, as that would give you a "visual look" at the condition of the vehicle. I wanted to ask if a "visual look" was as opposed to all the non-visual looking he usually did; but, he was my superior and didn't have much of a sense of humor, so I refrained.
-Kent Stoneking, Hillsboro, Oregon (kentls001 yahoo.com)

'First initial', as in "my first initial try at the project..."
-Mimi Dillman, Snohomish, Washington (a near neighbor!) (ntrop ix.netcom.com)

Regular routine.
-Lilly McKeown (lmckeown magavern.com)

Just heard on KTRK (ABC) -- Channel 13 in Houston -- city employees are being asked how they feel about a required mandatory furlough.
-Carol Wilson (carol.wilson houstonsymphony.org)

"No!" he denied.
Yes! she thought to herself.
-Brian Henry, Toronto, Canada (brianhenry sympatico.ca)

Recently in our local newspaper The Gympie Times: "with the cricket grand final looming in the future..."
-Karen Robertson, Gympie, Queensland, Australia (krobertson shine.com.au)

The pleonasm that has been bothering me for the last several years is "butt-less chaps". Chaps by their very nature do not cover the butt, otherwise we'd call them pants!
-Trisha Theer, Omaha, Nebraska (trishatheer hotmail.com)

An armada of ships.
-Michael Sochat, Weare, New Hampshire (michaelsochatmd gmail.com)

Opulent luxury (appears in an ad for a housing complex)
-Dr. Hemant G. Kulkarni, Pune, India (hegoku yahoo.com)

Many stores, such as Sear's have ads for women's bras. I've often wondered why the word women's is included in bra ads.
-Marc Balzamo, Ottawa, Canada (mbalzamo rogers.com)
[See this and this]

My favorite pleonasm came in a letter my very innocent old aunt received years ago from a civic bureaucrat. He threatened legal action if she did not respond "immediately, if not sooner". The lawyer in our family got a hearty laugh when he saw it, and ever since, it has been a favorite family expression when requesting quick action. I am, however, careful to use it only with persons who understand the joke. : )
-Kathryn Shaver, Louisville, Kentucky (kshaver22 aol.com)

False lies.
-Namagiri Ravindran, Hyderabad, India (nravindran csc.com)

How about "untouched by human hand", unless we need to understand that monkeys might pack and sort consumer goods.
-Zelda, South Africa (charlesi worldonline.co.za)

The all-time best story I have ever heard about a pleonasm actually happened when my best friend's mother was telling us about her performance review. She said, "They said that I was repetitive, that I talked to much, that I said the same things over and over."
-Leslie Hobson (lesliehobson sympatico.ca)

Central protagonist.
-Sonia Ishaq Glace (sonia_ishaq_glace waters.com)

The most ubiquitous pleonasm I can think of is "sales event". A "sale" is an event, is it not? We no longer have sales, however. We have "sales events". In advertising the term is used seemingly without exception to describe what once was called simply a sale. My Google search for "sales event" produced about 4,590,000 results.
-Len Iwanski, Helena, Montana (len_iwanski msn.com)

"It is not yet a *panacea for all ills*, but it is getting close. Yesterday, researchers announced the first proof that aspirin can cut the risk of a range of cancers by up to 50 per cent." London Independent, Dec 7.
-Jim Linford (jimtlinford gmail.com)

The phrase "immaculately pure white" immediately came to my mind and I simply googled it and came up with this gem below: "On the floor at the foot of his bed was a feather as large as that of an ostrich but unlike a feather of any bird on earth it was absolutely, completely, and immaculately pure white in colour." (link)
-Benny C. Gonzalez, Manila, Philippines (bennycgonzalez yahoo.com)

I have a myriad number of reasons (should be: I have myriad reasons).
-Robert W.F. Stephenson (rstephen mccarthy.ca)

On Dec 5, on the local television newscast, the anchor was reporting on an automobile accident that occurred during the snow storm, and she said, "Two people were killed in the wreck, and they died." Another pleonasm that I have heard is "electrocuted to death".
-Steve Jones, Pittsboro, North Carolina (SteveJonesNC bellsouth.net)

Pleonasm occurs much too frequently in police reports, and it is my mission to eliminate as many as I can. My fave:
"The armed shooter quickly fled running away on foot."
-Robert C Moore III, Weatherford, Texas (rmoore wc.edu)

From UN resolution (Dec 8, 2010) about the Ivory Coast: "condemn in the strongest possible terms... any attempt to subvert the popular will of the people."
-Paul Hirsh (paul.hirsh gmail.com)

When I first read about this contest, I thought, no way would I have anything worthwhile to send in. But there I was, playing with my son as we were getting him ready for bed, when I found myself naturally using a pleonasm. I would have to believe that this is one that most parents would be familiar with.
Playing peek-a-boo with my son as we are getting read for bed following a bath, my son says, "More!" I do it again. Son says, "More!" I do it again. Son says, "Moooore!" I find myself saying: "OK, just one last time." You would think that last time in and of itself would indicate only once more and the addition of the words "one" or "just one" is redundant. But, as it typically turns out, there is usually more than one "last time" in my house, especially when playing peek-a-boo!
-Hilly Cutler, Toronto, Canada (hilly.cutler invescotrimark.com)

Local television news-speak: As the announcer promotes the next news segment, the one to follow three minutes of commercials, he/she invariably says "still ahead" ("Still ahead! Victim trapped in rubble!"). Then the hapless reporter will say "still remain" (e.g., "the victim still remains trapped"). The story is ahead and the victim remains trapped. "Still" is redundant.
-Ted Stroll, San Jose (tedstroll yahoo.com)

When I studied Architecture in Spain, prior to my move to Germany, an art professor gave us a lesson about Pompeii and told us that dozens of "masculine phalluses" were found in a temple.
-José María de la Iglesia, Berlin, Germany (txemadelaiglesia gmail.com)

Years ago when I was a social worker, case workers qualified applicants based on poverty level and would ask them, "Do you have any income coming in?"
-Tina McCall, Fort Worth, Texas (tina.mccall unthsc.edu)

I submit "Regrow New Hair", a come-on I see in print ads pitched at persons of scalp, to use the PC term.
-Peter Bell, Penn Yan, New York (bellpw gmail.com)

There is a local news broadcast in Chicago in which the news reporter will often use the phrase "robbery gone wrong" or "burglary gone bad" if an injury to, or death of, an innocent person results, but they make it sound as if the thing started out with the best of intentions.
-Michael Weinert (weinert.mike bls.gov)

What drove copy editors in my newsroom wild was the use of the term "completely destroyed".
-Margy Clark, Kingsport, Tennessee (margyclark charter.net)

From Over Her Dead Body, by Kate Wright: "I was so speechless, I could hardly say a word."
-Tom Lynch, Shirley, Massachusetts (tomlynch lynchryan.com)

I often hear this one on the news: "high rate of speed", as in "The police pursued the car at a high rate of speed" or "the crash occurred because of a high rate of speed".
-Steve M. Sturzenegger (steve.m.sturzenegger fmr.com)

When I was in grade school, there was a boy named Billy Williams. I think his middle name also was William. I did a Google search for other people named by unimaginative parents, and I found many named William Williams, Thomas Thomas, Robert Roberts, Peter Peters, Lee Lee... The list probably goes on and on, so I stopped searching and went to feed my kitty cat.
-Elinor Stecker-Orel, Croton-on-Hudson, New York (famouselinor optonline.net)

This description of a specimen by a first-year pathology resident: "The specimen is a hysterectomy specimen consisting of a uterus."
-Arthur S. Tischler (atischler tuftsmedicalcenter.org)

A former erudite tennis professional of mine would cringe when one of his subordinates commanded a group of students to "rotate around" during a drill session.
-Dr. Dale O. Klipfel, DDS (dokdoc aol.com)

I don't have a picture of my pleonasm. I don't need one. You'll see examples of it in many cities. It's a sign that says "NO PARKING ANYTIME". Do you really need the "anytime"? Isn't "No Parking" absolute enough?
-John Andrews (electronblueprelude yahoo.ca)

I knew there had to be a website where a collection of pleonasms could be found. Sure enough.
-Walter L. Bazzini (dieselwalter gmail.com)


From: Jon Harrier (jon_harrier yahoo.com)
Subject: Pleonasms and Free Gift

There are many pleonasms here in rural Ohio (killed dead or real dead; past history; a complete whole thing; etc et al) and elsewhere but I'm commenting on (and disputing somewhat) your "free gift" example. It is an acceptable colloquialism at least -- as "true gift" seems to have become.

Some online dictionaries define "gift" as "something voluntarily transferred ...without compensation". The first problem is that folks have been used to making "gifts" for tax reasons. There are IRS rules on gift-giving.

Here in the country, we avoid taking gifts from neighbors because something is always expected in return. It's commonplace to hear "I gave him that broken ___ I was going to scrap so he had to lend me his _____".

Language has evolved to accept this. Example: if a parent gives you a car and you write "gift" in the price field, the clerk at the title office asks "Is it a true gift? You got nothing back?" And if so, "True" is added to form.

Net, "gift" has lost much of its "without compensation" meaning, and the emphasis of "free ~" or "true ~" is necessary.

Additional note: The act of giving here is described as "I gifted that car to my daughter."


From: Stuart Gripman (albany_hill yahoo.com)
Subject: pleonasm

Easily, my most dreaded pleonasm is the phrase "new baby". I get that there are tremendous differences between a newborn and an eighteen-month-old on the cusp of toddler-hood. But "new baby" implicitly suggests that the child will mature into its baby teens (at what, three or four months?), baby middle-age, and finally the golden months of 14 through 18. In the context of a typical human lifespan, the person is new to the world that entire time. Go ask a stranger if they've ever seen an old baby. See what happens.

The term is absolutely rife in culture. Atop Google's nine million, six hundred seventy thousand results for the phrase is "newbaby.com". Followed by droves of articles, greeting cards, advise columns and blogs all discussing "new" babies.

Hear my plea, English speakers! The concept of newness is baked right into the word "baby". You may have a newborn child. You may have an infant. But you do not have a new baby.


From: Gerald Sutliff (gerald.sutliff gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pleonasm

Now "pleonasm" is a word that applies to all my writings; it's a curse for those of use who have trouble focusing.

My best story on pleonasm from my 22 years writing arbitrators' decisions came about because of a computer crash: I'd sweated out and finished a 13-page decision when my computer crashed. Try as a might I failed to resurrect and was forced to start over. When I finished the rewrite it was eight pages long! I reread it several times and couldn't find where I "left out" a vital word.

A painter once told me knowing when to quit was the key to good painting. Amen, brother!


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