Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If "kitten" is a juvenile domestic cat, and "puppy" is a juvenile dog, are "baby kitten" or "baby puppy" superfluous or just extremely specific?

share|improve this question
1  
"Awww it's a baby baby!" hmmmmmm –  Tom J Nowell Jul 24 '12 at 11:49

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

This all depends on context of course, but, generally speaking, the terms baby puppy and baby kitten are neither superfluous nor redundant. The term puppy can be used until a canine becomes full-grown, which can take around a year. If someone told me they had baby puppies or baby kittens for sale, then I'd assume they meant very young animals, maybe only a month or two old; if the animals were more like four or five months old, I'd expect the qualifier baby to be dropped.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
1  
Depending on the breed, a dog might not be fully grown physically until it is between two and four years old. I've seen plenty of one-year-old dogs that have clearly been juvenile in build. –  Michael Kjörling Jul 24 '12 at 10:59
1  
Aww. Should I upvote, simply because of the cute picture....Oh, I already did. –  Urbycoz Jul 24 '12 at 13:40

Such apparent superfluity serves to emphasise the youthful nature of the animal in question.

share|improve this answer

I suppose it could be said that it was a tautology.

tautology noun : Needless or meaningless repetition in close succession of an idea, statement, or word

But I would say the repetition is useful to emphasise the point that the puppy or kitten was a particularly young one.

share|improve this answer

To elaborate on @BarrieEngland's response, I'd say that "baby kitten" will often be used to further heighten the cuteness factor of the fuzzy furball thus described. "Kitten" is cute. "Baby" is cute. "Baby kitten"? Double cute!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.