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Encyclopedia > Tautology (rhetoric)

In rhetoric, a tautology is an unnecessary (and usually unintentional) repetition of meaning, often utilising words from different languages. Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of oral, visual, or written language; however, this definition of rhetoric has expanded greatly since rhetoric emerged as a field of study in universities. ...



Tautology, often regarded as a fault of style, was defined by Fowler as "saying the same thing twice". In fact, it is not necessary for the entire meaning of a phrase to be repeated; if a part of the meaning is repeated in such a way that it appears as unintentional or clumsy, then it may be described as tautology. On the other hand, a repetition of meaning which improves the style of a piece of speech or writing is not usually described as tautology, although it may be a logical tautology. Below is a discussion of various patterns of semantic repetition and to what extent they are tautologies. Stylistics is the study of style used in literary, and verbal language and the effect the writer/speaker wishes to communicate to the reader/hearer. ... A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, often referred to simply as Fowlers Modern English Usage, or Fowler, is a style guide to British English usage, authored by Henry W. Fowler. ... In propositional logic, a tautology (from the Greek word ταυτολογία) is a sentence that is true in every valuation (also called interpretation) of its propositional variables, independent of the truth values assigned to these variables. ...

Examples of tautology

The British supermarket Tesco sells a brand of lemon thyme which it describes as having an "aromatic aroma" [citation needed]. Non-cognate synonyms may also produce a tautology; "free gift" is tautologous because a gift, by definition, is something given without charge. Other examples of tautology include phrases such as "new innovation" and "sufficiently adequate." Packaged food aisles in a Fred Meyer store in Portland, Oregon A supermarket is a departmentalized self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise. ... , For other uses, see Tesco (disambiguation). ... Species About 350 species, including: Thymus adamovicii Thymus altaicus Thymus amurensis Thymus bracteosus Thymus broussonetii Thymus caespititius Thymus camphoratus Thymus capitatus Thymus capitellatus Thymus camphoratus Thymus carnosus Thymus cephalotus Thymus cherlerioides Thymus ciliatus Thymus cilicicus Thymus cimicinus Thymus comosus Thymus comptus Thymus curtus Thymus disjunctus Thymus doerfleri Thymus glabrescens Thymus... Synonyms (in ancient Greek syn συν = plus and onoma όνομα = name) are different words with similar or identical meanings. ...

Repetitions of meaning in mixed-language phrases

Exact repetitions of meaning sometimes occur when multiple languages are used together, such as "the La Brea Tar Pits" (the The tar Tar Pits), "the hoi polloi" (the the many), "Sierra Nevada mountain range" (Snowy Mountain Range mountain range), "Sahara Desert" (Desert Desert), "shiba inu dog" (small dog dog), "Mississippi River" ("River"-"river" river) "cheese quesadilla" (cheese cheese-item), Mount Fujiyama (Mount Fuji-mountain), "Lake Tahoe" (Lake Lake),"Klezmer music" (music music), "chai tea" (tea tea), "Table Mesa" (Table Table), and "Angkor Wat temple" (Angkor Temple temple). Possibly the most extreme example is "Torpenhow Hill" (Hill-hill-hill Hill, in four different languages). "Scientology" similarly combines two tautological multilingual parts, from Latin scientia (science, knowledge) and Ancient Greek logos (science, reason, speech). La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles Countys Miracle Mile District. ... The Hoi Polloi march in a protest for more rights. ... This article is about the mountain range in the Western United States. ... The Sahara is the worlds second largest desert (second to Antarctica), over 9,000,000 km² (3,500,000 mi²), located in northern Africa and is 2. ... The Shiba Inu ) is the smallest of the six original and distinct breeds of dog from Japan. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... A huitlacoche quesadilla. ... Mount Fuji Mount Fuji , IPA: )  , is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 m (12,388 ft). ... Klezmer (from Yiddish כּלי־זמיר, etymologically from Hebrew kli zemer כלי זמר, musical instrument) is a musical tradition which parallels Hasidic and Ashkenazic Judaism. ... For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Chai (disambiguation). ... Table Mesa is a section of Boulder, Colorado It contains housing, one or more shopping malls, and a laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. ... Aerial view of Angkor Wat The main entrance to the temple proper, seen from the eastern end of the Naga causeway Angkor Wat (or Angkor Vat) is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. ... Torpenhow Hill is a hill about 200 metres above sea level in Cumbria in north west England on the side of which the village of Torpenhow is situated, close to the A595 between Cockermouth and Carlisle. ... Doctrine Practices Concepts People Public outreach Organization Controversy Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by American pulp fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as an outgrowth of his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...

The tautological status of these phrases is somewhat subjective and can be harder to detect than monolingual varieties, since they are only perceived as tautologous by people who understand enough of each of the involved languages, and because of the way that words change meaning as they drift from one language to another. For example, chai is Hindi for "tea", but in the United States, where the phrase "chai tea" is common, what is referred to as "chai" is more precisely "Masala chai." "pizza pie" (pizza being the Italian for "pie"), is a similar example, in that "pizza" has come to have a much narrower meaning in English than "pie". For other uses, see Chai (disambiguation). ... Hindi (हिन्दी) is a language spoken mainly in North and Central India. ... Chai (written चाय in Hindi) is an Indian term for tea from India. ... For other uses, see Pizza (disambiguation). ...

Other examples of repetitions occur when multiple languages are used. In bilingual (French and English) areas of Canada, for example, people may say things like "I'm going to cross the river at the Pont Champlain Bridge." (... at the Bridge Champlain Bridge). Repetitions like these occur more frequently when the bilingual phrases are used on road signage. The Champlain Bridge (Pont Champlain) crosses the Ottawa River west of Parliament Hill, joining the communities of Gatineau, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario. ...

Redundant expansion of acronyms

In some cases an acronym or abbreviation is commonly used in conjunction with a word which is actually part of the shortened form. One of the better known examples of this is "PIN number", which is often used when explaining the concept. Other examples include "MLS listing", ATM machine, RAID array, and "HIV virus". This phenomenon is humorously, self-referentially referred to as RAS syndrome. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Backronym and Apronym (Discuss) Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations, such as NATO, laser, and ABC, written as the initial letter or letters of words, and pronounced on the basis of this abbreviated written form. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... PINs are most often used for ATMs but are increasingly used at the Point of sale, especially for debit cards. ... Multiple Listing Service (MLS) (also Multiple Listing System or Multiple Listings Service) is a database which allows real estate brokers representing sellers under a listing contract to widely share information about properties with real estate brokers who may represent potential buyers or wish to cooperate with a sellers broker... Cash machine redirects here. ... For other uses, see Raid. ... Species Human immunodeficiency virus 1 Human immunodeficiency virus 2 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections). ... Self-referential humor relies on a subject making light of itself in some manner. ... The term RAS syndrome refers to the use of one of the words that make up an initialism or acronym as well as the abbreviation itself, thus in effect repeating that word. ...

Main article: RAS syndrome

The term RAS syndrome refers to the use of one of the words that make up an initialism or acronym as well as the abbreviation itself, thus in effect repeating that word. ...

Intentional repetition of meaning

A repetition of meaning may be intended to amplify or emphasize a certain aspect of the thing being discussed: for example, a gift is by definition free of charge, but one might talk about a "free gift" to emphasize that there are no hidden obligations, financial or otherwise, or that the gift is being given out of free will. This is related to the rhetorical device of hendiadys, where one concept is expressed through the use of two, for example "goblets and gold" meaning wealth, or "this day and age" to mean the present time. Superficially these expressions may seem tautologous, but they are stylistically sound because the repeated meaning is merely a stylized way to express a single unified concept. Love gift Man presents a cut of meat to a youth with a hoop. ... Hendiadys (Greek for one through two) is a figure of speech used for emphasis. ...

Further examples of tautology

  • United States President George W. Bush, before the Unity Journalists of Color convention on August 6, 2004, is quoted as saying (with regard to Native American tribes), "Tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign. You're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And, therefore, the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." [1]
  • The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution: In New York v. United States, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor stated, "The Tenth Amendment likewise limits the power of Congress, but this limit is not derived from the text of the Tenth Amendment itself, which, as we have discussed, is essentially a tautology." O'Connor reasoned that the Tenth Amendment simply reiterated what was already built into the structure of the Constitution generally: When the States consented to the Constitution they expressly delegated certain powers to the Federal government. Implicitly, what was not given was necessarily retained by the states.
  • The phrase "A is A", borrowed from Aristotle, was a favorite of Ayn Rand. The idea frequently appears in her Objectivist philosophy, especially as written in her novel Atlas Shrugged.
  • Douglas Adams used the phrase, "Anything that happens, happens. Anything that in happening causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen. Anything that in happening happens again, happens again. Though not necessarily in that order.", in his book Mostly Harmless.
  • In Sunni interpretation of the first half of the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith, may be transliterated as "...there is no god but God." The entire Islamic faith, some Sufis contend, can be derived from the deep contemplation of this apparent tautology. However, since the shahada is uttered in the Arabic language, one needs to understand the difference between "god" (Ilah إلاه; often translated as meaning "deity [worthy of worship]") and "God" (Allah الله; the standard Arabic word for "[the one] God").
  • The chorus line, "I'm hot cause I'm fly", in This Is Why I'm Hot could be considered tautology if the terms fly and hot are considered to be the same. Many could argue that it is the same as begging the question.

Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the forty-third and current President of the United States of America, originally inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ... See also August 5, 2004 - August 2004 - August 7, 2004 Pacific Islands Forum leaders call for assistance for Nauru to prevent the emergence of another failed state. (The Age) U.S. Senate election, 2004: Alan Keyes, a resident of Maryland, indicates he will seek the Republican nomination for the Illinois... This article is about the people indigenous to the United States. ... For Ireland, see Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland. ... Holding The take title provision of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act violates the Tenth Amendment and exceeds Congresss power under the Commerce Clause. ... In order to become a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate, with at least half of that body approving in the affirmative. ... Sandra Day OConnor (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. ... A is A represents the Law of Identity. ... Ayn Rand (IPA: , February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum (Russian: ), was a Russian-born American novelist and philosopher,[1] known for creating a philosophy she named Objectivism and for writing the novels We the Living, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and the... Objectivism is the philosophical system developed by Russian-American philosopher and writer Ayn Rand. ... For the film, see Atlas Shrugged (film). ... Douglas Noël Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. ... The front cover of the US first hardcover edition of Mostly Harmless. ... Sunni Islam (Arabic سنّة) is the largest denomination of Islam. ... , // Shāhāda is a town in the northwest corner of Maharashtra state in India, now in Nandurbār District (formerly in Dhule District). ... Islam (Arabic: ; ( â–¶ (help· info)), the submission to God) is a monotheistic faith, one of the Abrahamic religions and the worlds second-largest religion. ... Sufism (Arabic تصوف taṣawwuf) is a system of esoteric philosophy commonly associated with Islam. ... , // Shāhāda is a town in the northwest corner of Maharashtra state in India, now in Nandurbār District (formerly in Dhule District). ... Arabic can mean: From or related to Arabia From or related to the Arabs The Arabic language; see also Arabic grammar The Arabic alphabet, used for expressing the languages of Arabic, Persian, Malay ( Jawi), Kurdish, Panjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu, among others. ... In Islamic context, an Ilah is the concept of a deity, lord or god and does not necessarily refer to Allah. ... Look up deity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Allah is the Arabic language word for God. ... This Is Why Im Hot is a single by rapper MIMS. It has performed successfully on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Billboard Hot Rap Tracks charts peaking at number two and number one respectively thus far. ... In logic, begging the question describes a type of logical fallacy, petitio principii, in which the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises. ...

See also

The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules of the language. ... A figure of speech, sometimes termed a rhetoric, or elocution, is a word or phrase that departs from straightforward, literal language. ... A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, often referred to simply as Fowlers Modern English Usage, or Fowler, is a style guide to British English usage, authored by Henry W. Fowler. ... For the rules of English grammar, see English grammar and Disputes in English grammar. ... In logic, the law of identity states that A = A. Any reflexive relation upholds the law of identity; when discussing equality, the fact that A is A is a tautology. ... This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy certain standards for completeness. ... A place name is tautological if two parts of it are synonymous. ... No true Scotsman is a term coined by Antony Flew in his 1975 book Thinking About Thinking – or do I sincerely want to be right?[1]: Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Press and Journal and seeing an article about how the Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again. ... Look up oxymoron in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... // Pleonasm is the use of more words (or even word-parts) than necessary to express an idea clearly. ... In language, redundancy often takes the form of phrases which repeat a concept with a different word. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of oral, visual, or written language; however, this definition of rhetoric has expanded greatly since rhetoric emerged as a field of study in universities. ... Vacuous truth is a special topic of first-order logic. ...

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