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In a novel I am reading a character says,

I could fix you some herbal tisane.

Is this redundant? (And to be picky, does one 'fix' tea?)

  • Hi and welcome. Yes, one fixes tea, strange as it sounds. "Make" is probably more common in the US. Is it redundant? I think that will be primarily opinion based. Have you ever heard of meat tea? (I've heard of manure tea, but only plants drink it.) Since you're here, please have a look at the site tour and visit the help center for guidance on how to use this site. Again, welcome! – anongoodnurse Nov 21 '16 at 22:45
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    Talk about picky! Of course you can fix tea, why not? I don't know what you're referring to being redundant. – Prismonic Nov 21 '16 at 23:26
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    @Prismonic The question of redundancy is about herbal tisane: is tisane always herbal? If so, the adjective is redundant. – Andrew Leach Nov 21 '16 at 23:36
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    Not all the plants used for tisanes are herbs (at least not in common parlance). At work we often drink a cinnamon-ginger-liquorice tisane, none of which I would normally call ‘herbs’. Tisane is also an alternative spelling of the far more obscure word ptisan, which is a different drink, usually cereal-based. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 21 '16 at 23:48
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    One would be tempted to suspect that the story is translated from another language, and thus the more idiomatic "herbal tea" got mistranslated. (Though herbal tisane does get quite a few hits in Google Books.) – Hot Licks Nov 22 '16 at 3:27
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When you write your novel, you can be more succinct. I suspect this author slightly misunderstood tisane, or was concerned the reader might not understand it.

Hard to be sure without some context, but if I were going to nitpick (and I do like to nitpick too), I might be annoyed about tisane and fix not matching stylistically very well. I suppose you might be right that herbal tisane is rather like potato latkes. But herbal tisane doesn't bother me as much as it bothers you, and it doesn't bother me as much as the latkes example. We are in a pretty subjective realm with these criticisms.

I think fix may be more common in the South of the United States than in some other places.

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It looks like a mashup of herbal tea and tisane. So, strictly speaking, it is redundant.

Herbal tea, or, more properly, tisane (UK /tɪˈzɑːn/, US /tɪˈzæn/), is any beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water, and usually does not contain caffeine. Wikipedia

  • What I thought was a simple question has been shown from the helpful replies to have been far from simple. I gained much from them. – ken Outch Nov 22 '16 at 8:51

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