Sometimes we place two words together that have the same meaning, thus making one of the words unnecessary. Examples:

  1. Body corporate ('corporate' comes from Latin 'corpus', which means 'body'), so it's like saying "body body".

  2. Naan bread ('naan' means 'bread' in Hindi), therefore it's like saying "bread bread".

Is there a term for these kind of phrases in English?

  • 1
    I would call "naan bread" a back formation, enlisted as an adjective to distinguish naan from other kinds of bread (cf. "acoustic" guiitar, etc.). No opinion on "body corporate."
    – Robusto
    Jul 2, 2019 at 12:22
  • @Robusto, sorry, it was probably not the best example with "naan bread". My point was that it would be sufficient just to say "naan", like they do in Hindi, instead of adding redundant word "bread". What I wanted to know is if there a term for these kind of phrases?
    – Evgenii
    Jul 2, 2019 at 12:33
  • 1
    In general using redundant words is called a "tautology." dictionary.com/browse/tautology#
    – Showsni
    Jul 2, 2019 at 12:50
  • 1
    Not an answer, but there is "River Avon" where Avon is a misspelling of the Welsh Afon = River. Jul 2, 2019 at 13:17
  • The question is based on a mistaken assumption that one of the words in each pair is unnecessary. If they really were unnecessary, then the answer would be the one given by Mr. Fine. These words, however, seem unnecessary only if one focuses on their etymology and ignores the specific meanings they have, over time, acquired in English.
    – jsw29
    Jul 2, 2019 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


It's one kind of pleonasm

(Incidentally, I don't agree that "body corporate" is an example: your argument is an example of the etymological fallacy. There are meanings of "body" and "corporate" which overlap, but their core meanings in modern English are quite separate. ).

  • 2
    Although, as stated in comments, naan bread doesn't really fit either, since (at least in other parts of the world) naan bread is distinguished from other types of bread.
    – Zack
    Jul 2, 2019 at 15:29

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