Words, words, words

3

July 6, 2010 by Jen

I love words. So just for a moment, I want to exercise my geekiness rights and point out something fascinating.

Reading an article for my NZ research today, I stumbled across a new word I didn’t know: pleonasm.

It refers to an excess of words used to express a sentiment, sometimes as a rhetorical device, other times evidence of prolixity (tee hee).

At first I thought I was confusing it with another word I did know: neoplasm.

Neoplasm is another word for a tumor, an excess of cells, sometimes benign, sometimes malignant.

Both words are of Greek origin, but not the same Greek origin, pleonasm stemming from pleon (more/enough, from ple-, a similar prefix to poly-), and neoplasm from neo (new) + plasma (formation).

My observation of these two words is completely irrelevant both to what I was reading and to any other functions in my life; however, it is exceptionally fascinating. N’est-ce-pas?

Only…now it’s really bothering me that I don’t know a term for the relationship between those two words. It’s not homophone…what is it???

You are failing me, Google. You are failing me.

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3 thoughts on “Words, words, words

  1. Jen says:

    phonaestheme?

  2. Tabitha says:

    A few weeks I learned the word mucilaginous. It means wet and sticky but I think its more fun to use. Like your words, its not necessarily helpful in my daily life but I like to find places to use it. I'm going to look for places to use pleonasm. Could you say someone was being pleonastic if they used excessive words to describe something?

  3. Jen says:

    absolutely!

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