back to article Vulture Central plans Brit-Yank dictionary

It's come to our attention (again) that some of our Stateside cousins continue to struggle with El Reg's flavour of the Beloved Mother Tongue™. We have, of course, in the past published a couple of brief guides to those terms which prove The Register is a fertile breeding ground for neologisms, as well as a treasure house for …

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Coat

Some things are just the same, some things are a little different

Things that differ

American: Weapons of mass destruction

British: Thumbprint on the photo

Things that are the same

American: Intelligent leadership (Bush)

British: Same, we have no idea what it means either.

American: Intelligence Agency

British: Same, all f*kwits

American: Honest politician

British: wtf?

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Anonymous Coward

Softly softly catchee monkey

"From the people of Ghana, Baden-Powell learnt the phrase `softly softly catchee monkey' - and he learnt that he could get the best work out of his force by dividing it into small groups, or patrols, and giving responsibility to the captain of each group."

Apparently ... personally I think your better off using a net of some kind.

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Coat

@jdandison

"elude" versus "allude", apparantly. ;-)

All this arises because I and a 'Merkin say the following true statement in two different ways:

"The English word for English is English; the English word for American English is American English"

"The English word for English is English; the British word for English is American English, but the British word for British English is English - whoa, that's confusing..."

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Headmaster

@ The Original Ash

"Aluminium is actually pronounced Aluminum. The "I" was added by OSD scientists who didn't like that it didn't sound like a lot of the transition metals on the Periodic table."

Aluminium is actually pronounced just how it is spelt (go and check in the Oxford English Dictionary). The original spelling was Alumium, followed by Aluminum. By 1812, Aluminium was settled on as the correct spelling on both sides of the pond. There was some confusion in the 19th century with the -ium spelling in common scientific usage (in papers and patents), but the Websters dictionary listed the -um spelling. Although the Webster dictionary of 1913 actually listed the -ium spelling. In 1926 the American Chemical Society officially changed the name to the -um suffix.

Next time you try and be pedantic, at least research your response.

Muppet.

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um...

shouldnt that read:

"Arrest:

US: Something done by a lazy police force looking to criminalise and catalogue the entire "civilian" population, when they cannot be bothered to work out on the spot that allegations might be groundless, but inconveniencing people who then have to submit to extra checks for jobs, travel, finance etc usually carried out after a jolly good tasering with or without serious beating and possible gunshot wounds.

UK: Something done by a lazy police force looking to criminalise and catalogue the entire "civilian" population, when they cannot be bothered to work out on the spot that allegations might be groundless, but inconveniencing people who then have to submit to extra checks for jobs, travel, finance etc, standard fare for anyone with a camera or general interest in photography."

in the interest of full disclosure - i have been arrested on both sides of 'the pond'

in new york - for asking directions (apparantly they frown on being called arrogant bastards after theyve told you to fuck off for asking a simple question)

in belfast - for walking down the street listening to my walkman (seriously, apparantly i ignored repeated orders from an officer i didnt even see as he pulled up from behind, much less hear and was classed as an agitator involved in the rioting which was occuring approx 2 bloody miles away)

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Headmaster

Apostrophe

Could there be a footnote stating that apostrophes are not solely used in science fiction character names ( D'Avid T'Watdangle ), and that there is significant difference between their, there and they're, your and you're, its and it's.

A second footnote reminding Brits of the same would not go amiss.

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Headmaster

@AC: Pedantic buggers you lot

Redundancy is what happens when you let American bankers lend money they don't have to people who can't pay it back... repackage is as sound investments & sell it on to the rest of the world... recession featuring lots and lots of redundancy.

You are thinking of tautology which is the use of words repeating the meaning of previously used words.

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Paris Hilton

@bones

Router vs. Router??? We in the midwest pronounce the Black & Decker variety and the Cisco variety the same, your "rowter" I guess. How do you pronounce the Cisco variety??

Paris, 'cause I'm as confused as she appears.

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Clarty Bas

UK = US

Radge, Chav, Townie, Bampot, Schemie, Ned = Scum

Cadger = Dirty Thief (i.e. can I cadge a fag off ye)

Fag = Lammy Bammy, Richmond, John Player Specials, or if you are down and out Mayfair

Blagger = Charismatic Liar

Giro Day = The happiest day of the week for Radges

Fudge-packer = Fag

Chib = Stab

"Square Goes" = Traditional Glaswegian dance usually performed outside. Think square dance

Nuggets = Great

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Heart

why not collaborate?

Perhaps you could share your algorithms with Google. I stuffed your article into their translator - from "identify language" to "English" - and it didn't change a word. I guess that means you're perfect.

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@Billy Whiz

To be fair the Merkin habbit of "verbing" words has spread to Britain, unfortunately. I think the best comment on this annoying habbit came from Bill Watterson (a yank!) in his Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.

Calvin: Verbing weirds language.

Hobbes: Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding.

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Boffin

A fairly complete conversion...

I've had this in my archive for a while, but fraid I cant find the original author details....

UK -> US

biscuit -> cookie

scone -> biscuit

lump of dough -> scone

fag -> cigarette

gay -> happy

socialist -> communist

whig -> socialist

tory -> democrat

right-wing tory -> republican

green -> tree-hugging

bloke -> buddy

sod -> f*ck

oops -> f*ck

oh -> f*ck

jolly -> f*cking

very -> f*cking

really -> f*cking

quite -> f*cking

guy -> motherf*cker

bloody -> motherf*cking

darn -> motherf*cking

, -> , you know,

. -> , know what I mean?

! -> , man!

nude -> pornographic

nudity -> porn

flat -> apartment

lift -> elevator

chemists -> drug store

loo -> rest room

complain -> sue

chips -> fries

maize -> corn

corn -> grain

coffee -> espresso

tepid water -> coffee

cold water -> beer

tipsy -> drunk

drunk -> plastered

pissed -> dead drunk

annoyed -> pissed

irate -> postal

nice -> cool

cool -> cold

cold -> freezing

snow -> snow storm

drizzle -> rain storm

rain -> flood warning

light breeze -> wind storm

windy -> hurricane

foreign weather -> sunshine

brolly -> umbrella

telly -> TV

umpire -> referee

bowler -> pitcher

football -> soccer

Hope that helps someone....

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@GregC

Agreed.

Especially when the Brit version of "I couldn't care less", spoken hurriedly, results in a deliciously satisfying sly use of the C- word.

Here's another one: "We don't got X". "We do not got X", eh? Tsk.

Surely, by any standard measure, it's "We don't have X" (We do not have X) or "We haven't got X" (We have not got X).

Presumably it comes from "We got it", used in the present tense, as a shortening of "We've got it".

I can see _some_ merit in logical, contracted spellings. But it's disappointing when corruptions are a case of plain ignorance rather than a sensible 'evolution of the language'.

Although, to be honest, the UK-ians have nothing to be smug about. *They're* particularly bad when *their* use of *there* is so embarassingly to cock.

<us-ian>Go figure.</us-ian>

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris Morley

<http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/redundancy>

1. The state of being redundant; a superfluity; something redundant or excessive; a needless repetition in language; excessive wordiness.

Tautology <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tautology> will also work. I could have used both but that would be a redundancy.

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@Dave in the States

In the UK route is pronounced "root" just like the song Route 66. So... Cisco router is "rooter" whereas a "wood edgeing machine" as a "rauter".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLUYf6cekMA

What I want to know is how can you yanks sing it right yet say it wrong?

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@Dave in the States & @Sarah

"How do you pronounce the Cisco variety??"

Answer: Rooter (which, from my current sojourn in Canada had led me to understand that this is what you Yanks call "Toilet Cleaner"

"No no no. "I *could* care less about this, but I don't think I can be bothered."

Sorry Sarah, I'm with the other commentator - the Yanks are just plain confused on this one. I hear it all the time and it just doesn't make any sense.

One more for the pot - the Yanks also say "Are you going to fix that or no?" instead of "...or not?". True of the Canadians also.

If you substitute the word back into the sentence it makes you, inexplicably, sound like a Scot: "Are you no going to fix that?"

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Pirate

Don't bother with a list...

just license (or licence, on your side of the pond) Facebook's automatic translating system. They have three kinds of English available:

UK English

US English

Pirate English

I think most people on both sides of the pond will wind up selecting the 3rd setting anyway...

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Pint

@Jason Bloomberg

On the west side of the pond, all homonyms are used interchangably. Ewe half know weigh of noing how hard its two reed.

Once my supervisor wrote a memo with the subject "Your customer's think your great!!!". That job brought me to tears.

On "router": in USAian, the rotary woodcrafting tool and the networking device are pronounced the same way, with a short 'o' sound. "Row-ter" would be the pronunciation of "Rotor", the portion of a motor or generator that turns (Compare the decapitating portion of a helicoptor, contrast "stator")

Also, terms of alcohol consumption: What do all of your different words for "Beer" mean? (Over here, any beverage formed from the fermentation of starches without distillation is "beer". Fruits make "wine".)

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Boffin

spade call

While I understand a journalist's need to puff thin copy and pass it off as quality, most foreign readers would do better with clear ideas and plain language; so would most English speakers, if it comes to that.

I'll stop short of telling you which 3000 words to use, because I sometimes enjoy the fun.

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Coat

@ Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 16th July 2009 15:44 GMT

You may have a point but the Oxford English Dictionary records usage rather than prescribing it. A word can be included just because that's the way people spell, as opposed to being the way it is supposed to be spellled. Hence the, sometimes extensive, lists of alternative spellings as sources throughout the ages spell things whichever way they damn well like. As a result, it's possible to find a whole host of 'incorrect' spellings in the OED. The wikipedia article has a fair bit about this.

On this (rather dull) note, I can't help but wonder if this is how one of my most hated words - resorb - came about. Perhaps as the result of some lazy boffin bastard not being arsed to include all the letters required to spell reabsorb, which seems to have exactly the same meaning.

Mine's the one with the new leather patches on the elbows

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Happy

From a UK-resident New Yorker...

Things I've had to figure out that exclude the above (I hope):

"on offer" - means for sale, sometimes seems to mean on special offer (on sale)

"footy" - not the part of your body that supports you, but a ballgame with many, many supporters

"garden" - actually means the entire back or front yard, not just the planted bits

"fanny" - not the hind side, the bits on the other side of the girl

"yuf" - Brit expression that encompasses the deep respect and love they have for the next generation of well-behaved citizens

"council" - local governments, adept at income-redistribution to recent immigrants and non-workers, providing housing for free to same, and writing parking tickets.

"sorted" - fixed or solved

"drinker" - usually a place where drinking takes place, rather than the person doing the drinking

"off-license" - a place to legally buy alcohol that may be consumed away from it's licensed establishment, i.e. a package store, liquor store, etc.

"tea" - not just the main British drink, but also confusingly used to mean supper

There must be more, but this is what pops into the head at present...

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Pronunciation of names

I've watched the yank news recently (ABC world news is broadcast on Beeb news channel in the small hours) and I'me fed up of hearing that disgraced and now convicted fund manager named as BERRnard Madoff.

So but its just plain Bernard, I know that sounds a bit mundane but hey it is a British name after all.

Oh and by the way check (as in the piece of paper you an amount on and hend to comeone as a payment method) is spelt cheque.

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Pint

@ Dave in the States

Router vs router: in the UK, it's pronounced the same as 'route' - but to further clarify, it's like "root" in "root beer" (which incidentally is called "ginger beer").

What I'd like to have properly classified are food items. As far as I'm aware, all of the following similar items have different meanings for Yanks and Brits:

Biscuit:

In the UK, it's what a Yank would call a "cookie" - a hard sweet baked thing. In the US, it's a softer thing similar to a UK "scone".

Cookie:

In the UK, it's usually specifically a chocolate-chip cookie (although in Scotland, a plain 'cookie'). For the US, it's the same range of what Brits would call biscuits.

Scone

In the UK, it's a soft, baked bread-type thing, often served with cream or jam. In the US, this is what Yanks refer to as a "biscuit", while a scone for Yanks is made differently and more often crumbly than flaky, and in some regions refers to a deep-fried flattened bread (similar to a bannock).

So, in summary, a translation for Brits going to the USA:

Biscuit = a quick bread similar to a scone

Cookie = a biscuit

Scone = variation of a scone made with shortening, or a deep-fried flat bread

And a translation for Yanks visiting the UK:

Biscuit = a cookie

Cookie = a cookie

Scone = a biscuit

There were a couple of others along the same lines, but I forget them. It's really hard to make parallels with these foods in UK and US, because the same words exist but mean different things, and to not use the correct word means a long-winded explanation instead. I hope this made sense because it was damnedably hard to write.

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@Dave in the States

"Router" is "rooter", in the way that "route" is pronounced the same as "root". There's an "l" in "solder", too.

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Anonymous Coward

@The Original Ash

Contrary to what some anonymous coward says up there, the yanks have it on this one. Some hack decided aluminum didn't sound right and managed to publicise his own preference rather than the creator's choice. Of course, the person who talks about the work always wins over the person who does the work and these days we've settled on aluminium.

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Rubber = Eraser

Had a friend go into a Hallmark store (stationary store in the U.S.) and ask for a rubber. The old lady behind the counter was very offended.

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It's been done already

http://www.effingpot.com/slang.shtml

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good luck

When you do this thankless task, you will find that some words are in common use in parts of the US, but unusual in other parts. Plus some people have larger vocabularies than others.

The Queen's English appears to far more profane than you would see in most US publications. But perhaps that's just Register charm school training.

Most words you can find by googling "define: foo"

The word that gave me the most head-scratching was "quango".

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Go

"Dave in the States.

The Cisco variety is a 'Rooter'.

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Grenade

@Dave in the States

It all stems from your pronouncing the root word wrong. Route is pronounced root not rout, even if you pretend you are pronouncing it like the french you are doing it wrong. therefore router (cisco type) is pronounced rooter.

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Anonymous Coward

RE:Router vs. Router

Black and decker => rowter

Cisco => rooter

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how about...

"kaniggets". As in "I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur-king. You and all your silly English Kaniggets."

Or the one I see all the time here in the comments - "IT Angle"? So what IS the "IT Angle"?

I'm Merican and we don't wear coats in the summer, so I'll just be leaving, thanks.

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Extradition

UK English: To send suspects to another country for trial

US English: Er....

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Happy

ooh ooh pick me pick me

Slang is usually not a bother - just double click that mess, right click and and select "search google for" - sometimes have to add "brit slang" to narrow in on things.

BUT - the real challenge - especially if you want to venture into uncharted waters and borrow some slang, is knowing whether or not it's "dated". Even urban dictionary often fails there. Ahhh, El Reg would be 100% dro if they managed that.

Any words in the above missive that seem odd are, apparently, due to my American "accent." psh, as if... you bunch of ass goblins...

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Headmaster

@Mike Richards

"Just in case the Brits get too smug, the American spelling of 'sulfur' is the correct one. I use it just to piss off my pedantic colleagues."

Ah, but only for chemical formulae, raising the intriguing possibility of using both spellings correctly in the same sentence. Colo(u)r is similar, having been adopted as a technical term in particle physics. For example: "I'll colour the gluons according to their color.".

And just in case either the Brits or the Yanks get smug, it is pretty unlikely that a dialect from either country will be the standard form of English by the end of the century. (If you listen to 100-year old sound recordings, it is pretty obvious that this wasn't true in the 20th century either.)

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Happy

Pronounciation...

Oh I'm glad I'm not alone with the rOWter cringe.

For the 'merkins, we pronounce the network device "Roo-ter", and the woodwork tool "rOWter".

Also Jaguar is pronounced Jag-You-Are, not JagWaaaah.

Oh, and 'merkin is slang for American... Cos a brit saying "A Merkin" sounds like an American saying "American"... It also happens to be a pubic wig, which just seals the deal in my book!

To go out and get pissed on a Friday night is a normal evening involving no anger. It is also quite common to nip outside work and suck on a fag for five minutes.

Saying "You're mad/crazy" to someone in the UK never seems to cause the same look of horror you get if you say it to a foreigner. I can only assume the rest of the planet are having doubts about their sanity or anger management.

UK ----- US

Tramp = Bum

Bum = Ass / fanny

Arse = Ass

Ass = Mule

For some reason there seem to be a huge number of words only one step away from your backside.

Talking of which... In the UK, a Lady will not ask if her fanny looks big in something, and nobody has a fanny bag!

Use of such words will cause instant smirks from all Brits in a 100ft radius.

Oh, and just because we're lumped in with Europe, don't sit there going um and erm when it comes to measurements and such like, we can use both metric and imperial (we've been using them longer than you have!), and hop back and forth between them depending on which is the nicest number. Much to the annoyance of the French.

Annoying the French is our reason d'etre after all :-)

And remember, just when you think you understand everything an Englishman says, he can just switch to English English (See Austin Powers sketch with Michael Caine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgPH0tYXJrA).

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FAIL

@Dave in the States

Say the word Route (as in 66), then add the sound "err" to the end.

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WTF?

The trouble is...

...that you Brits don't speak no good nitedstates.

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Badgers

@Chris Morley and others

A tautology is a circular argument. If British English doesn't have a word for "redundancy," that would explain why Americans had to repurpose it.

What's interesting to me is that the French-hating English (the people not the language) have opted to keep their language as close to French as possible instead of allowing it to evolve away as America has done.

On a more serious note, American English is a dialect, not an accent.

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Paris Hilton

Alternatively

You could just go here:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/

Paris - Because I've seen both her fannies.

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WTF?

Why

I cannot see why anyone should make an effort to think down to the level of these idiots, what's next, a picture version? a scratch and version?

Sod that, if you can't read Engerlish, then use a translator to translate it to some language you DO speak.

Never heard the like of it, providing assitance for people who spell like 4 year olds is fine if you're a special needs school, but not an IT webshite.

Odd though that they often elect the MOST poorly educated of their number......must be to make the rest of them feel better.

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Anonymous Coward

"Sulfur..."

Really, I assumed the Yanks had changed it because they couldn't work the P and the H together.

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Router Tooter

The route from A to B is pronounced like root, the network thingy does routing (data packets) and is a router. Then there is the thing for cutting slots, which is routing rhyming with outing.

Toot: a short bottom burp.

Bum bag - F.A.N.Y. pack (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) carried a first-aid kit on their belts.

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Headmaster

If your name is Randolph...

Do not go up to people and say "I'm Randy" as this can be seriously misunderstood.

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Headmaster

@Dave in the states

>How do you pronounce the Cisco variety??

We say "rooter" as in "Route 66"

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Stop

Don't do it!

I feel confident that El Reg is safe for me to read at work (in the US) mainly because I'm fairly sure that no one who wanders along and sees it over my shoulder will actually understand the headlines. If a translation key becomes available, what then???

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Coat

Arse vs. Ass

They you are minding your own business ready to relax to some nice bestal porn only to be shocked and deeply disappointed.

Mine's the one with the kitchen roll in the pocket.

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Router vs. Router???

Root-er = box with wire

Row-ter = motor with 20,000rpm sharpo bit.

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WTF?

Pronunciation of names (corrected)

I've watched the yank news recently (ABC world news is broadcast on the Beeb news channel in the small hours) and I'm fed up of hearing that disgraced and now convicted fund manager named as BERRnard Madoff.

Sorry but its just plain Bernard, I know that sounds a bit mundane but hey it is a British name after all.

Oh and by the way check (as in the piece of paper you write an amount on and hand to someone as a payment method) is spelt cheque.

Apologies for the appalling spelling earlier but brain was working quicker than I could type and I had to do some WORK.

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Grenade

@Tom Maddox & AC

"A tautology is a circular argument."

No it isn't. Open a dictionary & read the entry.

Chambers says:

tautology noun (tautologies) 1 the use of words which repeat the meaning found in other words already used, as in I myself personally am a vegetarian. 2 logic a statement which is necessarily always true. tautological or tautologous adj. tautologically adverb.

ETYMOLOGY: 16c: from Greek tautologos, from tauto same + legein to say.

Longmans says:

tau‧tol‧o‧gy [See pronunciation table in "How to use dictionary" pages] plural tautologies [uncountable and countable] technical

a statement in which you say the same thing twice using different words in a way which is not necessary, for example, 'He sat alone by himself.' [↪ redundant]

Even dictionary.com knows the definition.

French and Greek are quite different languages too... French having its basis in Latin.

@AC: 16:23 GMT

You too should open a dictionary... or point your web browser at one

redundancy noun (redundancies) 1 the state of being redundant, or an instance of this. 2 a the condition of being no longer needed in a company, organization, etc; b dismissal from work as a result of this; c someone who is dismissed in this way. 3 superfluity; the condition of being unnecessary to the meaning of the sentence, etc.

Tautology is the correct word pertaining to language. If you're going to miss the joke about pedants perhaps you should do some research before posting?

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