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Bird aviary , where aviary already stands for "large bird cage".

A pleonasm ( Greek πλεονασμός pleonasmós ; abundance, exaggeration, enlargement [in the story]) is a rhetorical figure ; it is characterized by a wealth of words without any gain in information.

A pleonasm occurs when a certain meaning is expressed several times within a group of words in different ways (often with different types of words, e.g. adjective / noun ) or when expressive means are used that do not provide additional information. This figure can thus be redundant at the semantic level , but control the effect of a statement.

The pleonasm is used to reinforce, clarify or emphasize what has been said ("cold ice", "touched with my own hands"). Fixed expressions with a pleonastic character arise when one of the components (such as an unusual word or a foreign word) loses its original meaning and the expression is supplemented by an element of the same meaning for clarification ("foot pedal", "hairstyle", "cutter knife", "rice risotto" "," Chronometer "). The less the original meaning is accessible to the speaker, the less the overall expression can be viewed as pleonasm. Pleonastic word creations without a recognizable intended rhetorical background are considered bad language style or style blooms ( style errors ).

Form opposites to pleonasm, depending on the intended use, e.g. B. the oxymoron or the ellipse . Pleonasm and tautology are often used interchangeably .


For rhetorical reasons

Jet black or pitch black , round ball , female Federal Chancellor , old man , two twins (if you mean a pair of twins)

As a fixed expression

  • to divide apart (lat. divide "separate", "divide")
  • diverge
  • Chiffrenummer ( double. Chiffre "digit")
  • Foot pedal (lat. Pes , root word 'ped-' "foot")
  • Glass showcase (showcase "glass display case or cabinet" of lat. Vitrum "glass")
  • Gift for free
  • Jet jet ( English jet "nozzle, jet")
  • Jewish synagogue
  • klammheimlich (lat. clam "secretly")
  • Koi carp ( Japanese koi or goi "carp")
  • La-Ola-Welle ( span. La ola "the wave")
  • ultimately (merging of ultimately and finally)
  • Pulse rate ( lat. Pulsus "beat")
  • Reindeer ( Swedish reindeer horned antler or bearing animal)
  • Reply
  • Reminder
  • sacrosanct (lat. sacer "holy", sanctus "holy")
  • Finally
  • tacitly
  • Tsunami wave ( Japanese tsunami "wave in the harbor")
  • Aviary ( aviary = large bird cage)
  • Gust of wind ( gust : gust of wind)
  • delayed
  • Future forecast (forecast: statement about events in the future)

As an increase in absolute adjectives or indefinite pronouns that can no longer be increased

An example of this is the phrase "would be most optimal ...", although the word "optimal" already means "the best possible under the given conditions" and consequently no further improvement is possible (similar to "ideal"). This fact is also often found with the word “only” (“She is the only one who ...”) and with the word “none” (“in no way” instead of “in no way”). Further examples are the expression "to our complete satisfaction", which is often used in job references, or the common phrase "in the truest sense of the word".

As a stylistic device (stylistically conspicuous)

  • Single individual (individual "single being")
  • Hairstyle
  • manual handwork
  • Participation
  • official language (lat. officium "office").
  • Dead corpse
  • add together

Redundant acronyms

There are also redundant acronyms such as:

In formulations that, depending on the context, can form pleonasma

Wet rain , big giant , small obolus ( obolus [ancient Greek] "small coin"), political party (if the political character of the party is already obvious from the context).

Etymologically , but no longer in its current meaning

Digit zero (the Arabic aṣ-ṣifr , from which this expression comes, simply means “the zero”), people 's democracy ( demos [Greek] “people”; however, a people 's democracy is different from a democracy ), guerrilla war ( Guerrilla [span.] "Small war")

Apparent pleonasm

Some terms appear to be pleonasms at first glance, but they are not. Just as ignorance of the etymology of a word can lead to the formation of pleonasms, ignorance of technical details can lead to the view that multiple designations of the same or similar properties would be an improper exaggeration, although from the point of view of experts it is not is.

Example: "White mold " is not a pleonasm, because horses called molds do not have a white coat from birth and there are also a number of other color and drawing variants, e.g. B. the apple mold .

Grammatical pleonasm

In linguistics , particles are also referred to as pleonasms that have no meaningful content and often only fulfill a pragmatic function:

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: pleonasm  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Wilhelm Pape : Greek-German Concise Dictionary . 3. Edition. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig 1914 (6th reprint of the 3rd edition from 1880).
  2. a b c Georg Braungart, Harald Fricke, Klaus Grubmüller, Jan-Dirk Müller, Friedrich Vollhardt, Klaus Weimar: Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft: revision of the real dictionary of German literary history. Volume III: P-Z. Walter de Gruyter, 2007, p. 91.
  3. Klaus Mackowiak: The most common style mistakes in German - and how to avoid them. CH Beck, 2011, p. 135.
  4. ^ Wilhelm Wackernagel: Poetics, Rhetoric and Stylistics. Georg Olms Verlag, 2003, p. 344.
  5. Gero von Wilpert : Specialized Dictionary of Literature (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 231). 4th, improved and enlarged edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1964, DNB 455687854 , p. 515.
  6. Duden, Ren, das
  7. Bastian Sick in the onion fish column 48 examples of pleonasms
  8. Josef Kurz, Daniel Müller, Joachim Pötschke, Horst Pöttker, Martin Gehr: Stylistics for journalists. Springer- * Verlag, 2010, p. 33 ( online ).
  9. Arthur Schnitzler: Reigen - The young woman and the husband in Project Gutenberg-DE