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Home » » Tautology Definition & examples

It is a figure which uses two or more words or phrases having the same or almost the same meaning in the same sentence or place.

Prof. Bain defines it thus :' Tautology means employing,  in the same grammatical situation, two or more words or phrases for the one and the same meaning '.

The term tautology literary means 'saying the same thing'.It is notable not for conservation but wastage of words. It uses two or more words having the same meaning where one word is sufficient. For example,  in the sentence 'In the Attic Commonwealth it was the privilege and birthright of every citizen and poet to rail aloud and in public ' (swift),  we observe that there are three pairs of synonymous or semis synonyms  words (privilege and birthright ; citizen and poet; aloud and in public),  the use of one each of which would have served the purpose well. Had it been written this way the sentence would have looked like this: 'In the attic Commonwealth it was the privilege of every citizen to rail aloud '.Hence we realise that tautology consists in the use of superfluous synonyms side by side in the same sentence. 

The chief characteristics of this figure are given below:

(i) It uses synonyms of the same word

(ii) The synonyms may be of one or more words

(iii) They are unnecessary. 



My friends spoke all at once together 


It is a proposal intolerable,  not to be endured. 


The woman was quite exhausted and fatigued. 


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