Unmarried Bachelor


New Member
English - Canada & India
Does anyone know the word that describes a redundant phrase such as "unmarried bachelor" or "lesbian woman", wherein one uses an adjective to describe a word that already contains the meaning of that adjective? In this case a we know that a bachelor is unmarried, so to specify "unmarried bachelor" is redundant, since a bachelor by definition is a man who is unmarried. Likewise, a lesbian is a gay woman, so in describing a lesbian, it is understood that the person is a woman - stating this fact makes it redundant.

There is a word to describe this type of redundant phrase, but I can't remember it. Can anyone out there help?
  • brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I would go with (semantic) pleonasm or redundancy. See here.

    Concerning tautology, there is a short paragraph explaining the difference between tautology and pleonasm here, stressing that they are different concepts; however, both of the wikis I have provided give free gift, so who knows what it is!

    I mostly know tautology from logic, where it describes a formula that is true in every possible interpretation/regardless of the valuations of the propositional variables, so for me a tautology would have to be a sentence, like That bachelor is unmarried, as opposed to just a noun phrase like unmarried bachelor.


    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    If you attack, then even if you fail, you still attacked; and if you plan to attack but never do, then you never attempted/it wasn't an attack - so it's redundant.


    New Member
    I think attempted attack is not a neoplasm, in so much as here, neoplasm is being confused with oxymoron in which there's an apparent contradiction. The redundancy in neoplasm comes with repetition in implied meaning, like round circle or dark black, not contradiction. Neoplasm and tautology have been suggested as possible opposites to oxymoron on online dicitionary forums.

    I could be wrong, this is what I've found researching oxymoron recently.

    Also, I don't think tumorous growth is a neoplasm, because the two are not the same or redundant in conveying meaning. Not all growths are tumorous, tumours are uncontrolled growths. There is some repetition in that tumour implies growth, but neoplasms need redundancy, or unnecessary verbiage.
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