Sometimes someone will say "if we don't win, we lose" or "we will make it, or we won't" or another example is, "if i don't pass, I fail"

It is when someone needlessly states the obvious alternative.

I have heard the word before, but now just cannot recall it.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • 2
    A tautology perhaps? Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 5:58

1 Answer 1


You may be referring to a pleonasm:(adj) pleonastic:

  • The use of more words than are required to express an idea; redundancy.

  • A superfluous word or phrase.

Adj. pleonastic - repetition of same sense in different words; a true fact and ` free gift are pleonastic expressions"; "the phrase a beginner who has just started' is tautological or redundant"

Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Pleonastic

  • And for the examples given, a dichotomous pleonasm (or pleonastic dichotomy).
    – bib
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 12:21

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