I came across this word in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

one might hold that certain words simply have no semantic values, and so make no contribution to propositions. So-called neoplanastic ‘ne’ in French might be thought to be an example of this.

Searches have found only one other use, but there it is essentially just repeating the the same sentence.

Searching for 'ne'+'french' led me first here, where I learned that 'ne' is disappearing from spoken French, even though, etymologically, it is the 'ne' in 'ne...pas' etc. that expresses negation. This seemed promising, but then this article about 'ne' without 'pas' says

The ne in this sentence is called a ne explétif (also known as ne pléonastique). Instead of negating the clause (as it does when combined with pas, plus, personne, etc.), this ne emphasizes the general feeling that the clause expresses.

Pléonastique is translated as 'pleonastic', which is defined as

Adjective relating to or having the characteristics of pleonasm; needlessly wordy or redundant: pleonastic expressions such as “I heard it with my own ears.”

'Redundant' would seem to make sense in the context of the source phrase, so is neoplanastic likely just a typo for pleonastic?

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    Ne pléonastique is typically translated as pleonastic ne. That's pretty darn close to "neoplanastic ne." My guess is typo. Or a person who couldn't exactly remember the phrase pleonastic ne.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 18:00
  • Surely the neo- means recently pleonastic? The ne in the usage ne ... pas has become pleonastic, so it is neopleonastic. Perhaps the author liked the way that sounds. Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 18:00
  • @WeatherVane, neopleonastic makes sense, but neoplanastic? Recently planastic? Also, it's a little silly for the author to make up his or her own term (neopleonastic ne) and then refer to the neologism as "so-called"
    – Juhasz
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 18:09
  • I was editing the comment to get the spelling right. I was a bit thrown by the closing question "is neoplanastic likely just a typo for pleonastic?" It seems more likely to be a typo for 'neopleonastic' but one way or the other, there is a typo. Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 18:16
  • @WeatherVane I wondered about that, but let it go because I doubted that the pleonastic ne was a recent development - though I have no specific reason for thinking that... Neo- would seem to be more suitable as a prefix indicating recency in the case of ne being dropped in spoken French, but that seems to be separate issue than the pleonastic ne: in this case, the ne-less sentence still expresses negation, while the pleonastic ne explicitly does not, at least according to the article I linked.
    – sdenham
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


so is neoplanastic likely just a typo for pleonastic?

Almost certainly. I can't find any other uses of the word, and the established word "pleonastic" works perfectly here.

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