The sentence is:

While different, the sites are becoming more and more alike with each new update.

Is "new update" redundant?

closed as primarily opinion-based by AmE speaker, Nigel J, Edwin Ashworth, Skooba, Dan Bron Feb 17 '18 at 16:59

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    I would say that in this context it is redundant; the sense is the same if we omit the word "new." But it would sometimes be useful to distinguish a new update from the old update, no? – Chaim Feb 12 '18 at 19:48
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    As an aside, this would be called 'tautology' – marcellothearcane Feb 12 '18 at 21:40
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    No more redundant than a new model of a car. An update of something is often a new version, whether the old version is replaced completely or changed only partly. You can check the history of your MS Windows updates for your (Windows) laptop - some are newer (more recent) than others. – Drew Feb 13 '18 at 4:28

You might well think that the word new adds nothing to the word ‘update’. However, the word has a legitimate rhetorical role as an intensifier - a little like anaphora, where a key word is repeated for emphasis.


One needs to consider that "update" can have many different meanings. Eg, a radio news broadcaster might have a dozen different sheets of paper on his desk, all labeled "UPDATE!", some of those 2 minutes old and some 2 days old.



The phrase "new update" is not necessarily redundant. It only can be redundant. In a series of separate updates, one can be newer or older than another. Ergo, the phrase isn't inherently redundant.


The Windows update that came preinstalled on this disc is 3 months out of date. There is a new update available online.

  • Does 'redundancy' cover only semantic considerations? See Tuffy's answer. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 17 '18 at 12:31
  • In order to answer the question with "no", one only need come up with any dimension in which it is a "no". Tuffy's is also a good answer. – WakeDemons3 Feb 17 '18 at 20:29
  • What I'm asking is whether a word can be considered 'redundant' if it has a pragmatic role such as emphasis, even where it seems to be semantically unneeded. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 18 '18 at 14:37

It is not redundant.

"New" means the thing it describes has been recently created.

An "update" for software simply applies new binaries to the application to introduce new functionality or fix defects.

A "new update" is an update that has recently been created. It will most likely bring the application up to the most recent version.

An "update" which is not new can still be applied to the software. If I'm a Stack Exchange admin and want to apply an update to the answer storage code behind the website, it's immaterial if the update is new or not. Maybe it's been around for a year but I haven't had the time to apply it, or maybe it's hot off the assembly line. If I don't specify, it probably doesn't matter for what I'm trying to communicate to you.


Yes, this would be considered redundant. "New update", is an example of a tautological statement, such as "false lie" or "PIN Number". If both words have the same meaning than it is unnecessary to use both, the one will do.

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    I do not necessarily agree that ‘new’ is redundant in this context. But even if it were, ‘tautological’ is not the right word. To be tautological, two expressions must mean exactly the same. At most, the meaning of ‘new’ is included in (entailed by) the word ‘update’. The same applies to ‘false’ and ‘lie’. The word for this semantic relationship is ‘pleonasm’ (‘pleonastic’). The tautology would be ‘mentitious lie’. – Tuffy Feb 12 '18 at 23:10
  • I strongly disagree. 'MS sent a raft of updates last month, and some new / further updates yesterday.' is fine. With OP's example, any usefulness can't be semantic but could be argued to be pragmatically worthwhile. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 17 '18 at 12:30
  • @EdwinAshworth In fact, I agree with you, Edwin: hence the ‘not necessarily’ and ‘at most’. For one thing, as your examples illustrate, the use of the word has so expanded as to apply to documents frequent and general enough to amount to newsletters. The doubt would arise where the boss says to the junior engineer: “please give me a new update on your progress on laying the pipes.”. But this is not the circumstance envisaged in the question. – Tuffy Feb 21 '18 at 15:06
  • @Tuffy Note that here, where I am responding to your comment rather than the 'answer', I have indicated this in the accepted way. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 21 '18 at 20:09
  • Indeed you have, as I understood. – Tuffy Feb 21 '18 at 20:58

A "new version" would reduce redundancy.

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