Share this entry
tautology Line breaks: tau|tol¦ogy
Pronunciation: /tɔːˈtɒlədʒi/

Definition of tautology in English:

noun (plural tautologies)

[mass noun]
1The saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g. they arrived one after the other in succession).
Example sentences
  • It is conceivable that the key to truth lies in tautology and redundancy.
  • Redundancy and tautology are undesirable, and a sign of less than careful writing.
  • But really, spinning out some kind of clever model to illustrate that idea is unnecessary tautology: I can say it in just a few simple words.
repetition, repetitiveness, repetitiousness, reiteration, redundancy, superfluity, periphrasis, iteration, duplication;
wordiness, long-windedness, prolixity, verbiage, verbosity
rare pleonasm, perissology
1.1 [count noun] A phrase or expression in which the same thing is said twice in different words.
Example sentences
  • But then, Coward himself was less refined than he thought: ‘The general consensus of opinion,’ he has Hugo say, two tautologies in a mere five words.
  • I'm not saying he is a sloppy reviewer, because the phrase ‘sloppy reviewer’ is a tautology when it comes to the press.
  • Incidentally, white jasmine is a tautology in the Indian context.
1.2 Logic A statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form.
Example sentences
  • The past, in effect, is a tautology; it is true by virtue of its logical form alone.
  • It doesn't affect the validity of the statement, so you can include it without destroying your tautology.
  • Some authors treated the quantity theory as a matter of causal relation and explanation, often differing as to the content and direction of explanation, whereas others saw it as a truism, identity or tautology.


Pronunciation: /tɔːtəˈlɒdʒɪk(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • The camp provided the Germans tautological proof of the necessity of imprisoning Untermenschen: the disgusting state of the Haftlinge of Auschwitz demonstrated their inferiority and justified their murder.
  • What may seem tautological - happiness being happiness - epitomizes Traheme's use of perspectival language: to attempt to move from the subjective and to the objective.
  • Those who view the question as ultimately tautological, and therefore futile, have a strong case to make; but that is not the same thing as saying the question is without use.
Pronunciation: /tɔːtəˈlɒdʒɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • Or is knowledge, tautologically, simply what the leading professors in each field declare it to be?
  • The assertion ‘I have direct experience of God’ includes the assertion ‘God exists’ thus, the conclusion ‘therefore, God exists’ follows tautologically.
  • Although The Swan bills itself tautologically as ‘the most unique competition ever’, there's nothing special or shocking about full-body liposuction and total facial reconstruction any more.
Example sentences
  • As a meal for the mind, this great tautologist serves us here a communion wafer - thin and without body.
  • Photography is not necessarily photography and only tautologists would disagree with this.
  • A sports commentator and noted tautologist once spoke of a player making ‘forward progress’.
Pronunciation: /tɔːˈtɒlədʒʌɪz/
(also tautologise) verb
Example sentences
  • You ignored my reply and chose merely to tautologize your own application of the husband and wife example.
  • As for other testing steps, they are the same as those described above and are not tautologized again.
  • Instead of resuming, the next sentence retraces, kneads, worries, tautologizes the foregoing.
Pronunciation: /tɔːˈtɒləɡəs/
Example sentences
  • For many people, however, especially in England, the usage is tautologous.
  • These terms, as pointed out in other parts of this book, are ambiguous, open-ended, and often tautologous.
  • The word ‘until’ does in my view have as its normal English meaning a meaning which is sometimes encapsulated in the rather tautologous phrase ‘unless and until’.


Mid 16th century: via late Latin from Greek, from tautologos 'repeating what has been said', from tauto- 'same' + -logos (see -logy).

Definition of tautology in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources