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Dec 15, 2010
This week's theme
Words made with combining forms

This week's words
exogamy
ventifact
tautology
leptorrhine
ontology

Permanently low prices forever
A tautological tag line

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

tautology

PRONUNCIATION:
(taw-TOL-uh-jee)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Unnecessary repetition of an idea, especially in different words, for example, a good-looking beautiful woman.
2. In logic, a compound statement that is always true, irrespective of the value of its components, for example: Tomorrow either it will rain or not rain.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek tauto- (same), contraction of "to auto" (the same) + -logy (word). First recorded use: 1587.

NOTES:
A tautology is, to define it in a tautological manner, to repeat the same thing twice in different words. For the second sense of the word, we can say that a sentence is either a tautology or it's not. The word is sometimes used for satire or insult, for example, see the second usage example below.
Pleonasm is using more words than necessary ("free gift"), but for most practical purposes pleonasm and tautology can be considered synonyms.

USAGE:
"Whoever came up with the term action sports should get some kind of award trophy gong prize from the International Global World Tautology Foundation Institute Association."
Roger Cox; Four Seasons; The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland); Aug 7, 2010.

"One would hope the average Australian is far too smart to be influenced by a disgruntled bully masquerading as a journalist on Channel Nine (is that a tautology?)."
Julie Hosking; Lame Circus Act Leaves Us Walking a Tightrope; The West Australian (Perth); Aug 24, 2010.

See more usage examples of tautology in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You can't shame or humiliate modern celebrities. What used to be called shame and humiliation is now called publicity. -P.J. O'Rourke, writer (b. 1947)

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