Pleonasm is defined as the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning, either as a fault of style or for emphasis. For example: see with one’s eyes.

From which have, an as example, pleonastic word pairs.





“Tillotson, who had a great reputation in his day for simplicity and plainness of diction, had an extraordinary bent towards tautology. The following extract, chosen at random from his sermons, is fairly representative”:

Now Religion doth contribute to the peace and quiet of our ways these two ways. First, by allaying those passions which are apt to ruffle and discompose our spirits. Malice and hatred, wrath and revenge are very fretting and vexatious and apt to make our minds sore and uneasy, but he that can moderate these affections will find a strange ease and pleasure in his own spirit. Secondly, by freeing us from the anxieties of guilt, and the fears of divine wrath and displeasure; than which nothing is more stinging and tormenting and renders this life of man more miserable and unquiet. And what a spring of peace and joy must it needs be to apprehend upon good grounds that God is reconcil’d to us and become our friend; that all our sins are perfectly forgiven and shall never more be remembered against us! (Works, 6th ed., London, 1710, p. 52.)

— quoted in Studies in the Prose Style of Joseph Addison by Jan Lannering (Harvard University Press, 1951)

It seems to me that a lot of Protestant ministers in my recollection talked this way.





John Tillotson (1630-1694) was the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury from 1691 to 1694.


— Roger W. Smith

   September 2018


Studies in the Prose Style of Joseph Addison - cover.jpg++

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1), a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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