tautology

September 13, 2022

Tautology / noun / tau·tol·o·gy

The word tautology is a noun that refers to the concept of unnecessary or unintentional repetition in the written or spoken word. Often these words, phrases, or ideas that are repeated are considered “wordy” and considered a stylistic fault.

An example of tautology would be the use of the phrase “always and forever.” Both these words have the same meaning, and the use of them together is unnecessary.

Additionally, tautology can also refer to logical statements that are true by virtue or necessity.

In a Sentence

Lawyers often use tautology in court to get the jury to feel sympathy for their defendant.

Regardless of what you want to believe, the tautology proves that the assertion is incorrect.

You do not have to keep using tautologous statements with me — I understand that point you are trying to make.

Etymology

The word "tautology" comes from the ancient Latin and Greek word "tautologia," which means "the saying of the same thing twice."

Using tautology in English can be traced back as far as the 13th century. The word "tautologous" meant "containing the same meaning as the word preceding it." Tautology became popular around 1566. We have been using it as a noun in English to describe repetitive and rhetorical statements and undeniable logic since then.

Synonym

Repetition, Reiteration

Antonym

Directness, Straightforwardness

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