'word' words

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri May 2 14:21:53 UTC 2008

On Fri, May 2, 2008 at 10:15 AM, Amy West <medievalist at w-sts.com> wrote:
> Now, I've seen a quote from F.M. Kelly (armor historian) dismissing
> the 19th c. term "chain mail" (which could be one of those word-word
> pairs) as a "neoplasm". (I've seen the quote in the .sig of someone
> on the Mediev-L list.) [His explanation for calling it a "neoplasm"
> is that both parts of the term mean/refer to the same thing.][He
> labels "scale mail" and "plate mail" as ridiculous non-sensical
> terms.]

I'm guessing Mr. Kelly called it a "pleonasm", unless he was making some sort of
metathetical/spooneristic joke.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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