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WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Framing in context.

"The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!"

A tautology is a truthful phrase with no informational content. A = A is a tautology. Unnecessary repetition of words meaning the same thing: "free gratis" or "I can see it with my own eyes" or "It is what it is".

Sometimes this can be funny, like something humorous. Other times it can be tiresome, like a... tiresome thing.

The title comes from William Shakespeare (who used tautologies a lot) in Antony and Cleopatra during a drunk scene:


 Lepidus: What manner o' thing is your crocodile?

Antony: It is shap'd, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it hath breadth; it is just as high as it is, and moves with its own organs. It lives by that which nourisheth it, and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.

Lepidus: What color is it of?

Antony: Of its own color too.

Lepidus: 'Tis a strange serpent.

Antony: 'Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.


This article was brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department, the Department that brought you this article. Related to A Dog Named "Dog", "El Niño" Is Spanish for "The Nino", Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", and The Trope Without a Title, some articles this one is related to. See also Recursive Acronym.

Illustrative Examples:

Advertising Commercials

  • The slogan for Raid insecticides has long been, "Kills bugs dead."
  • "Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers taste fresh."
  • A Dutch commercial for Heinz Pasta Sauce ended with the phrase "Heinz Pasta Sauce: sauce to put on pasta."
  • A radio station in Chicago once advertised: "Of all the radio stations in Chicago... we're one of them."
  • An advertisement for the City Rail 14 Day Rail Pass in Australia: "14 Day Rail Pass. Like the 7 Day Rail Pass, but lasts twice as long."
  • Australian brewery Carlton & United's recent slogan for its flagship Carlton Draught: "Made from beer."
  • Milo ad campaign : "That's not cool, but MILO with cold milk's cool, 'cause it's made, with cold milk."
  • A new apartment block overlooking Slough railway station--on a major commuter route to/from London--carried a hoarding making the sensible observation: "If you lived here, you'd be home by now."
    • "...And bored out of your mind."
    • The same slogan was also used to advertise a new apartment block overlooking Ruislip Underground station, likewise on a major route into and out of London.
  • Spoofed in a recent set of ads for Nationwide Insurance, featuring "The World's Greatest Spokesman in the World!"
  • The You Don't Know Jack shop page (apparently no longer functioning) is called the STORE-Mart, and features the catchy slogan "We Sell Various Items To You".
  • Local Liquor's slogan is "There's one near you". Which works great for TV ads. Emblazoned on the store that you're standing in front of? Notsomuch...
  • A recent McDonald's ad. "This new Zesty Mango McMini is really zesty." This is then emphasized by a trio of women who sing the word "Zesty" in a motown style.
  • A particularly bad example is the radio ad campaign for South African Airways Business Class. For some reason they thought it would be a good idea to end each ad with this: "So, fly South African Airways Business Class. Business Class: 'For Business'." You don't say!
  • An oddly provincial advert for broadband internet informs us that a Yorkshireman's word is "rock solid, like Yorkshire stone!" Well, maybe, but how solid is their rock? (And more to the point, what the hell has it got to do with broadband?)
  • According to a TV advert for Donkey Kong Country Returns, DK "rampages through your living room like an ape rampaging through your living room."
  • The most tautological commercial campaign of all time = Apple's 2011 iPhone campaign: "If you don't have an iPhone.... well, then you don't have an iPhone."
  • Apparently, Dr. Pepper tastes like Dr. Pepper.
    • Ahem. Diet Dr. Pepper tastes like Dr. Pepper.
  • "Our bank's debit card gives you the security of a Personal PIN Number!"

Japanese Anime Cartoons From the Far East


 Kyon: What does Haruhi Suzumiya mean to me? Haruhi is Haruhi, and nothing but Haruhi... great, I'm using tautology to dodge the question.

    • Also, in "Endless Eight":

 Haruhi: Summer should be like summer, so we have to do summery activities.


 Konata: What's a Blue Hawaii?

Kagami: It's... uh... Blue-Hawaii-Flavored, I guess...


 Kazumi: It's called a school festival. It's a festival organized by the school.

    • Pardonable since Japanese has a special word for "school festival" that can't be produced by saying either "school" or "festival."
  • In Naruto, the legendary Sannin (lit. "three ninja") are often called "the Three Sannin" in translations.
    • Something between this and I Am Not Shazam is referring to the nine-tailed demon fox as "The 9-Tailed Kyuubi" (or other tailed beasts in a similar manner) as if "kyuubi" was a proper name, but it just means "nine tails" and we don't learn the real name of it (Kurama) or any of the other tailed beasts' names but Shukaku until very late in the series.
  • Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel becomes redundant when the title is translated — Thief Angel Twin Angel.
  • Many anime subtitles will translate the sentence "hitori wa sabishii" as "being alone is lonely."
  • The Translation Notes in Vol 23 of Mahou Sensei Negima has this wonderful bit where the Publishers explain a censored Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of XX-puta.

  We won't tell you what it is but it starts with L and rhymes with "Laputa".


 Ako: No, no, no, that's not okay! That's just...not okay!

  • A moment in the beginning of Xxx HO Li C encounters this:

 Watanuki: What's a Mokona?

Yuko: A Mokona's a Mokona. You count them one Mokona, two Mokona then you stop because there's only two Mokona.


 Keiichi: "Manager"...who is that?

Mion: Kei-chan, you don't know? The Manager is the Manager.


Keiichi: I mean...who is the "Manager".

Rena: The Manager is Manager-san.

Keiichi: So, WHO IS IT?!



Graphical Sequential Comics

  • Ask yourself, what does the DC in DC Comics stand for? It stands for Detective Comics, the name of their first and once bestselling series. Now think about that for a moment. Detective Comics Comics. A letters column once explained the logic behind the company still being DC Comics, stating that news of a new "DC launch" might upset some of our foreign friends. While the company is officially DC Entertainment now... one of its subsidiaries is DC Comics.
  • The Runaways hideout is in the La Brea Tar Pits, where "La Brea" is Spanish for "the tar". These are found both in Real Life Los Angeles and in the comic book Runaways. The redundancy is also commented upon within the pages of Runaways, where the the tar tar pits appear.
    • Also, while Molly is pushing against a giant monster's foot:

 Molly: His foot smells like feet!

  • The stupid, stupid rat creatures in Bone occasionally use this:

 "Do something quick, small mammal, before we are all killed to death!"

  • Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire. Most of the reasons for the Winslow's importance. "The Winslow is the exact shape and size of the Perfect Lizard of Love, which, of course, is the Winslow."
  • Hellboy (He's a boy from Hell): "When I do you, you're done!"
  • From Villains United, a comic about a union of villains:
  • In DR and Quinch stories, things are often described in this manner by whichever character is narrating. For example, the hatchway of a spacecraft is described in one story as opening "with a sound just like the sound of a hatchway opening."
  • One issue of The Simpsons shows Bart, Milhouse, and Martin looking over all the new summer comics in the comic-book shop - and, of course, most of them feature snarling renegade "heroes" or impossibly buxom super-women on their covers. Two of the comics have the titles "Deathkill" and "Killdeath" - which qualifies as a double example.

Fan-written Fan Works Made by Fans


  Marik: Foolish fools!


 Yami: Only one duelist can be the star of this movie, and it's not the duelist that's not me!

Anubis: You're going to die! And then you'll be dead! Because I killed you!


  The smoke was flying around his head and it shone in the sun like a shiny cloud of smoke.


 He didn't have a nose (basically like Voldemort in the movie) and he was wearing all black but it was obvious he wasn't gothic. It was...... Voldemort!

    • In another scene, Ebony asks for a four-letter word for dirt.
  • In Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, Blud enjoys eating "blood bananas" that are made out of blood.
    • Also, many other examples. Including the "nuclear bom went off like a bom", though perhaps this could be saying that it went off like a bomb but not a nuclear one, since all it really does is scratch the paint on Soichiro's car.
  • Dark Secrets has the following Narmful line before Coitus Ensues:

 " Are you sure? " Draco asked, making sure this is what she wanted.

    • Dialogue tags that reiterate the dialogue they're describing are infuriatingly common in fanfic, especially when Said Bookism is also in play.
  • "Gay, Bejewelled, Nazi Bikers of Gor" frequently employs tautologies to mock the original author's redundant writing.

 The meal consisted of busk meat, which is a manly meat taken from the busk, those large, shambling animals used by Goreans for meat. In addition I had eaten several vulo eggs, these being the eggs of the birds that the Goreans call the vulo, and which the Goreans keep so they can eat their eggs. This was as well in addition to the so-turgey bread I had eaten with my busk meat and vulo eggs, the flour for this bread being taken from the so-turgey plant, which is grown on Gor by the peasant caste.

  • In Jeffrey Wells's Narbonic fanfic A Brief Moment of Culture", the killer yogurt proves beyond Artie's powers of simile:

  We stood before the slucking mass of yellow-tinged white yogurt that draped and spilled over the gerbil pens like some kind of ... obscene mutant dairy product or something.


  He then thrusted his magnificent cock into America's eyesocket, like a cock thrusting into an eyesocket.


Motion Picture Films That Move

  • This gem from Plan 9 from Outer Space: "Inspector Clay is dead, murdered, and somebody's responsible. This might be justified considering something could have been responsible.

 Paula Trent: ...A flying saucer? You mean the kind from up there?

Jeff Trent: Yeah, either that or its counterpart.


 Dr. Paul Armstrong: Seriously, Betty, you know what this meteor could mean to science. If we find it, and it's real, it could mean a lot. It could mean actual advances in the field of science.

  • Mirror Mask: "I shall slip unnoticed through the dark, like a dark unnoticeable slippy thing."
  • The Happening: "Elliot's resilient."/"Yeah, he never gives up."
  • The Show Within a Show CSI parody in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, starring Sarah Marshall, is called Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime.
  • Kung Fu Panda--
    • The opening narration: "Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung-fu skills were the stuff of legend."
    • The secret ingredient of the secret ingredient soup.
    • The thousand demons of Demon Mountain.
    • Master Shifu. Xifu (pronounced the same) means "master" in Chinese.
    • Chor Ghom Prison. Guess what 'Chor Ghom' means?
  • When Eric catches up to T-Bird in The Crow, it takes a while for T-Bird to realize who he is. This is doubtless partially due to the makeup Draven wore, but it might also have been denial, as when he realizes it, he's so confused and frightened he fires off five Shaped Like Itself statements in a row.

 T-Bird: ... I know you. I knew I knew you; I knew I knew you... But you can't be you. This is the really real world. We killed you dead! There ain't no comin' back..."

  • The Continuum Transfunctioner from Dude, Where's My Car?. The Continuum Transfunctioner is a very mysterious and powerful device. Its power is exceeded only by its mystery, and its mystery is exceeded only by its power.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gives us this classic Lucasism: "Their treasure was knowledge; knowledge was their treasure."
  • The 1976 mystery spoof Murder By Death (a title that itself qualifies) includes this exchange early on:

 Dick: It sounded as though somebody snipped the wire.

Dora: What did it sound like?

Dick: Snip.


 Rudy: You created it all so you can be immortal. Why?

Mad Scientist: To live forever.

  • Monty Python and The Holy Grail: " any help you could give us would be most... helpful"
    • Also, "Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies."

  "Three is the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four thou shalt not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out."

  • Back to The Future: Doc didn't build the time machine to make money, he did it to travel through time!
    • This one's justified, since Doc wouldn't necessarily use his own invention (if, for example, the invention didn't really work and he was just trying to rip people off).
  • Flowers for Algernon's film adaptation Charly had Charlie Gordon give Ms. Kinnean a phrase from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable to punctuate: "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."
  • Manos the Hands of Fate. As manos is Spanish for "hands", the title when fully translated means, "Hands the hands of fate".
  • In the test Spock is taking at the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Spock is asked to give Kiri-Kin-Tha's first law of metaphysics. "Nothing unreal exists" is the answer.
  • Once in every Austin Powers movie.
    • International Man Of Mystery: "Allow myself to introduce... myself."
    • The Spy Who Shagged Me: "You're one groovy baby... baby."
    • Goldmember: "What do you know... about... my father's where... about... s."
    • From a deleted scene: "The plan will go ahead as... planned!"
  • The contract scene in A Night at the Opera. ("The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part...")
  • Shortly before the Inglourious Basterds attempt to meet a double agent in a bar in a cellar:

 Aldo: Fighting in a basement presents several difficulties, the first of which being, you're fighting in a basement.


 "Boris the Blade? As in, Boris the Bullet-Dodger?"

"Why do they call him the Bullet-Dodger?"

Beat "Because he dodges bullets, Avi."

  • California Carlson in the Hopalong Cassidy films insists that "El Camino Real" is Spanish for "The Real Camino", to hide the fact that he has no idea what a camino is.

Written Literature With Words


 Ford:I won't disturb you with the details because they would...


Ford:Disturb you.

    • Not to mention the title of the book itself.
    • The book Life The Universe And Everything presents a greatly abridged list of rules for Brockian Ultra-Cricket (since the full set of rules is literally too large to exist in print). The final rule is: "The winning team shall be the first team that wins."
    • Life, the Universe, and Everything also has Arthur find himself in a room carved out of the inside of a mountain that looks like it was carved out of the inside of a mountain.
  • A particularly egregious example is found, in all places, in a poem by Wordsworth titled "The Thorn" where he describes a mossy mound as, "like an infant's grave in size." Later, he tells you, "The little babe was buried there." Why yes, William, an infant's grave has very similar dimensions to an infant's grave.
  • In the novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, there was a tunnel Mrs. Frisby was walking down described as "dank and damp".
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: "You're a very smart man." "Not only am I very smart, I'm also intelligent!"
    • Though not commonly used in modern speech, there is a difference in meaning between intelligent (able to process information efficiently) and smart, which can mean either intelligent or wise (having acquired knowledge). But given who said that, it was unlikely he knew the difference either.
    • A Series of Unfortunate Events does this a lot with its embedded definitions matching subsequent descriptions. "The restaurant, which was very 'gaudy' (a word here which means 'filled with ugly neon lights') was filled with ugly neon lights."
  • Used with great effect in the James Bond novel Thunderball by Ian Fleming. In it, to describe the room that Bond was given in the Shrublands health clinic, Fleming worded it thusly: "It was a room-shaped room with furniture-shaped furniture and dainty curtains."
  • Subverted in Harry Potter with "The Monster Book of Monsters", the title of which seems superfluous until you realize that the book, itself, is a monster. Though it could also have just been a Doorstopper.
    • And don't get them started on The Invisible Book of Invisibility...which is invisible.
  • Discworld has numerous examples, Terry Pratchett seems to love this trope.
    • It's very common in Ankh-Morpork, where a previous Patrician of Ankh-Morpork banned all similes that cannot be proven true, a law Lord Vetinari still enforces--even a relatively benevolent dictator must have his fun. When "She had a face that launched a thousand ships" without historical evidence lands you in the crocodile pit, writing "She had a face that looked like a very beautiful face" is safer.
    • In Soul Music, just after Imp y Celyn meets his bandmates, Lias tells him that "rock" is speciesist slang for "troll" in Ankh-Morpork. "Free advice what I am giving you gratis for nothing." Then again, he's a troll in the relatively warm Ankh-Morpork--not good for the brains of a silicaceous species.
    • Neither is Scrape, a particularly wretched troll drug, which (combined with boyish shyness) might account for this flash of insight from the drug-addled Brick (in Thud!):

  Brick: We call dem wukwuks 'cos dey looks like... you know, a wukwuk.


  But Rust was always a man to interrupt an answer with a demand for the answer he was in fact interrupting.

    • A convoluted example appears in Hogfather, when Ridcully asks the Senior Wrangler why they always hang up mistletoe at UU's all-male Hogswatchnight dinner. The Wrangler's improvised answer, as Ridcully points out, is essentially that the mistletoe is an important symbol ... of mistletoe.
    • There's been a monster or two in the Discworld books with eyes the size of very large eyes.
  • Another example of a repetitive place name comes from Dragaera. Bengloarafurd Ford, which means "Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford" in several different languages. Finally a bridge was built, and the place renamed to Bengloarafurd Bridge.
  • The Dufflepuds in The Chronicles of Narnia do this a lot.

  Chief Duffer: You don't see us. And why not? Because we're invisible.

  • The first line of The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore begins: "Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing..."
  • The Principia Discordia, in a section describing the organization of the Erisian church, notes that "A POEE Cabal is exactly what you think it is."
  • Dave Barry Slept Here explains "The Decline of Spain" in a single sentence: "On October 8, 1565, Spain declined."
    • In an effort to make history easier to understand, Dave set all events in history as taking place on October 8th, because that's when his son was born.
  • Dave Barry In Cyberspace: "OK, here it is, page 367: A "BIOS ROM AUTOCACHE FORMAT ERROR" message indicates that there is an error in the BIOS ROM autocache format. That clears THAT up!"
  • The MacGuffin in Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse is only referred to as the MacGuffin (until the very end), and it is only ever described as Shaped Like Itself.
  • P.J. O'Rourke describes the events of the 1991 post-Soviet revolution in Georgia, concluding "If none of this makes sense it's because — believe me, I was there — none of this makes sense."
  • Many things in The Lord of the Rings have names in Elvish. Sometimes, translations were provided. They were often arranged so as to sound like part of the name; if you translate all the Elvish, you discover characters called Greenleaf Greenleaf (Legolas) and Shipwright the Shipwright (Cí­rdan), as well as a place called the plain of Battle Plain (Dagorlad).
    • Many of the Rohirrim have names like this, but in Anglo-Saxon. Theoden just means "king", for instance. So when other characters call him "Theoden King", they're calling him "King King".
  • Actual last names of zaddiks in Martin Buber's Tales of the Hasidim often consist of a word in Hebrew and its equivalent in Yiddish (ex. Zwi-Hirsch)
  • From The Fisherman and his Soul by Oscar Wilde: "They tempt me with temptations".
  • By Gertrude Stein: Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose...
    • Ernest Hemingway's reply: "A bitch is a bitch is a bitch is a bitch." Roddy Woomble adds, "Gertrude Stein says, 'That's enough.'" (from the song "Roseability", by Idlewild)
  • "Let things have been as they have been, nonetheless they've been somehow; so far it has never been that things would be nohow." - that's only one of the many golden thoughts by Josef Švejk, the main character of Jaroslav Hašek's opus magnum The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War.
  • The Bible: God identifies himself to Moses as such: "I am what I am" (or "I am that I am"; the passage has led to many translation and interpretation issues).
  • Gerald Durrell's Three Singles To Adventure, one of his many autobiographical volumes, had this exchange during the purchase of a crab-eating raccoon in British Guyana:

 Ivan: Sir, this boy says he has a crab-dog.

Durrell: What's a crab-dog?

Ivan: It's a sort of animal like a dog that eats crabs.

Bob: That's what I like about Ivan, he's so lucid.

  • This trope was a standard literary device in the Roman literary repertoire. The best example is from The Aeneid, where Vergil writes sic ore locuta est - thus she spoke with her mouth.
  • The title of Al Franken's book, "Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them)"
  • In the novel Flora Segunda, the main character at one point describes "the monstrousness of [another character's] face in all its monstrousness".
  • In the sixth book of the Captain Underpants series, it is discovered that "organic orange-flavored oranges" are effective weapons against robotic booger monsters, since the booger monsters are apparently held together with cold viruses which are destroyed by Vitamin C.
  • The novel The Phoenix Guards has a particularly egregious example in Bengloarafurd Ford, which due to a long history of changing hands in the endless Easterner/Dragaeran border skirmishes has a name that translates from several different dialects as "Ford ford ford ford".
  • The ending formula of German Fairy Tales goes: "If they haven't died, they're still alive today."
  • Willie Wonka describing his lickable wallpaper in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: "And when you lick a snozzberry, it tastes just exactly like a snozzberry..."
    • This is not quite the same thing--he's saying that licking the image of a snozzberry (whatever that might be) on his wallpaper results in the taste of a real snozzberry. Still amusing, though.
  • Dracula has quite the morbid Crowning Moment of Funny when Van Helsing opens Lucy's coffin, revealing it empty, to try to prove to Dr. Seward that she's now a vampire.

 Dr.Seward: I am satisfied that Lucy's body is not in that coffin, but that only proves one thing.

Van Helsing: And what is that, friend John?

Dr. Seward: That it is not there.

Van Helsing: That is good logic, so far as it goes.

  • Kim Stanley Robinson describing a Space Elevator in Green Mars: "Just to the south of them, the new Socket was like a titanic concrete bunker, the new elevator cable rising out of it like an elevator cable ..."
  • There's a book about The Peter Principle in which one man tells this story:

  "When I was a kid, I thought the Earth was flat. Then I learned in grade school, it was round. In high school I learned, it was a sphere. On college I learned, that it actually was a sphere flattened at the poles. On the university, I learned that it was a geoid. I looked up the word and found it meant 'Earth-shaped'."

  • A character in Take a Thief is referred to as having a "face-shaped face." This time, the lack of information itself conveys useful information: the character has no particular identifying traits and is easily lost in crowds.
  • In Gibson's Pattern Recognition, the protagonist is asked "So how was Tokyo?" and responds "It's more like it is now than it ever was."
  • In The Lorax, the Once-ler describes knitting his first Thneed "with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed."
  • A Georgian Poet wrote in his poem something like "And the Mother of god was coming... like the mother of god". As he later said in an interview, he couldn't find any suitable comparison for her.
  • Confessions of a Mask:

 Friend: Proust was a sodomite...

Narrator: What's a sodomite?...

Friend: A sodomite's a sodomite.

  • Quoth Syl, in The Way Of Kings: "They'll be fine. You worry like a worrier."
  • In Count Zero, Bobby's condo in Barrytown has carpet-colored carpet and curtain-colored curtains.
  • Grey Murphy from the Xanth novels is The Nondescript, so much so that his driver's license lists his hair as "hair-colored".

Live Action TV with either Actors or Non-Actors in Television

  • Seinfeld In "The Keys", Jerry and George are in Elaine's apartment, looking for Jerry's spare keys. George asks what they look like, to which Jerry responds: "They look like keys, George. They look exactly like keys. (Mockingly) "What do they look like."
    • In another episode we have Elaine's Big Salad, which is "like a salad... only bigger."
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Deadly Assassin". All assassins are deadly, unless they are not good at their jobs (originally, it was titled "The Dangerous Assassin," which is not so much a tautology as a massive understatement). This was parodied with Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death. According to the DVD production notes, Robert Holmes, the story's author, didn't believe the title to be tautological as there were many incompetent assassins. The assassin in question actually manages to kill his target, never a sure bet when the person you're trying to kill may have 12 lives.
    • Example from the new series ("The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky"):

 The Doctor: The ATMOS System could make things worse.

Rattigan: Yeah, well, you see, that's a tautology, 'cause ATMOS stands for Atmospheric Omission System, so you're saying "Atmospheric Omission System System". Do you see, Mister "Conditional Clause"?

    • "You're Mr. Thick Thick Thickety Thick-Face from Thicktown, Thickania. And so's your dad!"
    • "That's the headphones for Channels 1 to 36; modem link for 3D vidgames; complimentary earplugs; complimentary slippers; complimentary juice pack; and complimentary peanuts. I must warn you some products may contain nuts."
    • "The Time of Angels", Amy asks River what the Doctor is like in the future, and River says that "the Doctor... is the Doctor". Amy is unimpressed.
    • In "The Unicorn and the Wasp", when Donna is asked what she meant by a giant wasp, she answered, "I mean a wasp, that's giant!" She then expands on that thought: "When I say giant, I don't mean big, I mean flipping enormous!"
  • Brazilian comedy group Casseta & Planeta loves this trope. Examples from their first movie: "the Cup was conquered not only in definitive, but also forever", "women of the feminine sex" and "a just and filled with justice country".
    • Another Brazilian group, "Melhores do Mundo", has "He auto-self-suicided himself!"
  • Blackadder: "Disease and deprivation stalk our land like... two great stalking things."
  • From a series 19 episode of Have I Got News for You

 Angus Deayton: Well, elephants would be elephant-sized..

Paul Merton: Would a baby elephant be elephant sized?

Angus Deayton: Well, that would be the size of a baby elephant..

  • The title of the series Unsolved Mysteries — well, if they were solved, they wouldn't be mysteries. Although perhaps the adjective is to distinguish it from the more common detective stories, which are labeled "mysteries" even though they end up solved.
  • An episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Harmony is worried that Buffy is coming for her, and cries to Spike, "She'll kill me to death!"
    • The first episode had this exchange:

 Buffy: Dead?

Cordelia: Totally dead. Way dead.

Xander: Not just a little dead, then?

Cordelia: Don't you have an elsewhere to be?

    • The third episode has Buffy, all loopy from a spell, telling Xander "'re my friend. You're my Xander-shaped friend!"
    • The fifth episode has Buffy and Xander discussing her failed attempt to date her broody classmate Owen:

 Xander: You're acting a little overly, aren't you? I mean, you could have any guy in school.

Buffy: He's not just any guy. He's more...Oweny.

Xander: Sure, he's got a certain Owenosity, but that's not hard to find.

    • "Phases" has a bunch of them.

 Willow: Well, last night was the night before the full moon, traditionally known as... 'the night before the full moon.'

(And also)

Xander: You're Buffy. Eradicator of Evil. Defender of...things that need defending.

(Willow reporting that Oz is a werewolf)

He said he was going through all these changes. Then he went through all these... changes.

  • One episode of Deadwood had this piece of dialogue as Merrick the newspaperman tries to write his newspaper:

 Merrick: "The vaccine will be distributed gratis."

Al: Free gratis.

Merrick: Free gratis is a redundancy.

EB: Does that mean "repeats itself"?

Al: Then leave gratis out.

Merrick: What luck for me Al, that you have such a keen editorial sense. "Free. Distributed Free. Period."

  • All Aussie Adventures' Russell Coight does this a lot:

 "Australia. A land as ancient as it is old."

"The symbol of this land, the majestic wedge-tailed eagle, named for its wedge-shaped tail and the fact that it's an eagle."


 Monk: It's a small pebble — about the size of a... small pebble.

    • "Mr. Monk Is At Your Service":

 Monk: What are you talking about? I'm not going in there alone. That would be like... me, going in some place alone.

    • In the episode where Adrian Monk discovers the joys of the internet:

 Monk: It made me "L-O-L" out loud.

    • "Mr. Monk and the Genius":

 Monk: To me, quitting would be like giving up.


 Moss: You stole it?

Roy: Well... yes.

Moss: But that's STEALING!


 "Now, if we increase the size of the penguin so that it is the same size as the man, we see that the penguin's brain... is still smaller. But, and this is my point, it is LARGER than it WAS!"

    • In another sketch, nearly every word out of one character's mouth is an exploration of this trope: a dinosaur expert, Miss Anne Elk, being interviewed for television, repeatedly claims ownership of a theory in various tautological ways ("Well, this theory, that I have, that is to say, which is mine... is mine") and finally allows the interviewer to actually drag the Shaped Like Itself theory from her ("All brontosauruses are thin at one end; much, much thicker in the middle and then thin again at the far end. That is the theory that I have and which is mine and what it is, too.") Eventually the interviewer has to shoot her to keep her from going over the entire trope yet again with a second theory.
    • A Vox Pops from another episode had the following gem:

 Vicar: I agree. If there were fewer robbers, there wouldn't be so many of them--numerically speaking.


 Mal: Well, looks can be deceiving.

Jayne: Not as deceiving as a low down... dirty... deceiver.

    • Jayne tends to do that a lot.

 Jayne: She'll turn you in faster than you can say..."Don't turn me in, lady."

  • During its first season, NCIS was actually titled "Navy NCIS" until the producers realized that was redundant. Oops. (NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, so there's no need to tack "Navy" in front of it.)
    • The subtitle for the first season was, egregiously, "Naval Criminal Investigative Service."
    • A running gag throughout the show is the number of people they have to explain this to, because they've never heard of it, so the subtitle could be allowed. "Navy"
  • A few examples from Pushing Daisies:
    • The town of Coeur d'Coeurs. It should be noted this is French for "Heart of Hearts". Still redundant, but also not an Ass Pull on the part of the creators.
    • Heroine Charlotte "Chuck" Charles and her deceased father Charles Charles.
    • Boutique Travel Travel Boutique.
    • The Darling Mermaid Darlings.
    • Uber-Life Life Insurance and the Wish-A-Wish Foundation.
  • Sean Hannity once infamously claimed that America is "the single greatest best country that God has ever given man on the face of the Earth". This was given a complex Venn diagram on The Colbert Report to explain how it was neither Department of Redundancy Department nor Shaped Like Itself.
  • The "Comedians of Comedy" tour.
  • Stargate SG-1 looks on the surface to be an example, because "SG" does stand for "Stargate". However, SG-1 is the name of the Four Man Band that goes through the stargate itself (as distinct from the other teams, SG-2 through SG-25), so this is, while slightly confusing, at least a partial aversion of Shaped Like Itself.
    • In Atlantis, there's a brief flash of a computer screen in the episode "McKay and Mrs. Miller" when we see the power levels of the ZPM Module. ZPM stands for Zero Point Module.
  • Kamen Rider Decade turns his fellow Rider, Kamen Rider Blade, into a BFS called the Blade Blade.
  • From Look Around You comes the following on the brain: "Think of it as a kind of modified heart, only with a mind, or brain."
  • That 70s Show... Oh, that Kelso:

 "Angie's so pretty. Looking at her is like looking at... something else pretty"

"25 years! Man, if you were dogs, that would be... 25 dog years"

  • Whose Line Is It Anyway has its fair share of this for laughs, an example in one of the most famous sketches, The Cat (Improbable Mission: The laundry), has this little conversation:

 Ryan: What was it?

Colin: A burnoose!

Ryan: Any idea what it looks like?

Colin: It looks like... a burnoose!

  • Northern Irish sit-com Give My Head Peace features two characters forming a loyalist pressure group called the "Protestant Loyalist Organisation for Protestants" after realising that the acronym of their first choice was already in use by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.
  • In The Young Ones episode "Summer Holiday" Neil asks Mike:

 "Don't you think robbing a bank is, well, tantamount to stealing, really?"

  • The Mentalist - in the first episode the mentalist Patrick Jane says of an over-enthusiastic crime scene person at the scene of the crime "He irks me. He's irksome."
  • One of the segments on the sketch comedy show The Edge was entitled "What the really bad author is doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE," wherein we would watch a writer compose such similies as "The rat ate the cheese like a rodent devouring fermented cow's milk."
  • In the ninth season premier of Scrubs Dr. Cox mentions that he can't stand when med students make him reiterate things "especially when I have already iterated them".
  • Malcolm in the Middle, when he made himself dumb: "I can't believe the awesomeness of how awesome this is!"
  • From A Bit of Fry and Laurie (that show with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie):

 "We may be stupid, but we're not clever!"

    • While eulogizing Hugh, Stephen comes out with:

 Hugh Laurie, whose real name was Hugh Laurie, was better known by his stage name, Hugh Laurie.


 Bo: We'd better get there quick. Couldn't have been more than a gallon of gas in that can.

Luke: Really? In a one-gallon can?

Bo: Yeah, I can't believe I said that, either . . .


 Abbey Bartlet: ...and I think that making a big thing out of it is what makes it a big thing!

Oliver Babish: Really?

  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Defiant", Commander Sisko offers Gul Dukat his assistance in tracking down and neutralizing the USS Defiant, which has been hijacked by a terrorist and brought into Cardassian territory.

  Sisko: I helped design it. I know its vulnerabilities, and its weaknesses.

  • Similarly, in Star Trek: The Next Generation, at one point, Picard refers to the Klingon Imperial Empire. As opposed to those non-imperial empires out there.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. An alien inventor describes his graviton catapult as "a device that can catapult a vessel across space, in the time it takes to say 'catapult a vessel across space'."
  • Seattle sketch comedy show Almost Live had a skit where a man was sent to "Simile School" because he kept falling victim to this trope. "It's as great as... something that's really great!" "It's as slippery as... something that's really slippery!"
  • And now, some words of wisdom from Parks and Recreation's Andy Dwyer:

  Andy: In order to think like one of these guys, you have to think like them.

  • In a 2005 segment on avian flu, The Daily Show correspondent Rob Corrdry described the disease thusly: "A fatal killer that, when lethal, can be deadly."
  • One episode of Wheel of Fortune had a puzzle where the category was Place... and the answer was SECRET HIDING PLACE.
  • In one episode of Friends, Chandler and Joey insist that Rachel and Monica follow through with the terms of a rashly made bet and swap apartments with them:

  Rachel: Y'know what, you are mean boys who are just being mean!


  Abed: "9/11 was pretty much the 9/11 of the falafel industry."

  • On Saturday Night Live, Chris Farley's "motivational" speaker character Matt Foley had the Catch Phrase "You'll have plenty of time for [fill in the blank] when you're LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!" In his first appearance, the character played by guest host Christina Applegate became Genre Savvy.

 Matt: Young lady, what do you want to do with your life?

Stacy: [sarcastic] I want to live in a van down by the river.

Matt: Well, you'll have plenty of time to live in a van down by the river when you're... [dramatic pause] ...LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!

  • Molly Connell, in the Leverage episode "The Carnival Job," she doesn't really have anyone to talk to these days. Except "Daria... our eastern-European housekeeper. Talking to her is like... talking to an eastern-European housekeeper."
  • In a flashback on the first season of Lost, Shannon is asked by Sayid to watch his bag and instead decides to report it as unattended. Leading to this:

 Shannon: Some Arab guy left his bag downstairs.

Security Guard: Can you describe him?

Shannon: Um...Arab?


 D'Artagnan: You know what I hate about hard work?

Siroc: It's hard?

D'Artagnan: Exactly.

  • From an episode of Frasier, after Frasier's father has suggested the city is like a woman:

  Frasier: "A city is not like a woman--it's like a city!"

  • The X-Files, paraphrasing Shakespeare (and speaking about senators), but to a different effect:

  Cancer Man: They're all honorable, these honorable men.


Musical Songs with Lyrics You Can Sing

  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds' song "O'Mally's Bar"

 Well Jerry Bellows, he hugged his stool

Closed his eyes and shrugged and laughed

And with an ashtray as big as a fucking big brick

I split his head in half


 There's only one thing that I know how to do well

And I've often been told that you only can do

What you know how to do well

And that's be you

Be what you're like

Be like yourself

  • Sublime's "Foolish Fool".
  • Cheech & Chong's "Basketball Jones". "That basketball was like a basketball to me!"
  • Similarly, "Albuquerque" by Weird Al Yankovic: "That snorkel's been just like a snorkel to me!"
  • The song "King of Spain" by Moxy Früvous has the line "a palatial palace, that was my home".
  • The song "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" has a tautology in its title (as well as chorus), though it seems to be paraphrasing Shakespeare (see above).
  • "The Future Soon" by Jonathan Coulton talks about "building inventions in my space lab in space". (The title line, "It's gonna be the future soon", may also be an example.)
    • Another one by Coulton is "That Spells DNA," with it's chorus "And DNA, baby, that spells DNA."
    • The song "Lady Aberlin's Muumuu" makes reference to being "shaped like a lady is shaped".
    • "Betty and Me" refers to a procedure being "legal in the states where it wasn't banned."
  • "Friends", by Ween. "A friend's a friend who knows what being a friend is!"
  • "Dirge" from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum";

 Miles Gloriosus: Light the pyre!

Pseudolus: What kind of pyre?

Miles Gloriosus: A pyre of fire!

Pseudolus: Ohh, a fire-pyre!

    • This is even more tautological once you remember that "pyre" is the Greek word for fire, meaning that Pseudolus essentially said: "Ohh, a fire-fire!"
  • One line from the America song "Horse With No Name" goes "The heat was hot."
  • Pink's "Family Portrait" contains the lyric "Your pain is painful". An especially unfortunate case of Narm because it occurs very early on in a serious ballad about a child whose parents are getting divorced... although it is a childlike thing to say.
  • "Epic" by Faith No More: "What is it? It's it!"
  • Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs offered Paul McCartney a Certificate of Redundancy Certificate for the line "But if this ever-changing world in which we live in..." in "Live and Let Die". (it's argued to this date if the lyrics are that or "in which we're living")
  • There's also the borderline-meaningless credit often found in the liner notes of 80s-era rock albums on the Geffen label — "John Kalodner: John Kalodner"
    • Weezer did something similar with their "fifth member" in the credits of Pinkerton: "Karl Koch: Karl Koch".
    • Likewise, British band The Happy Mondays credited one of their line-up as follows on Pills and Thrills and Bellyaches: "Bez:Bez". For those not familiar with their oeuvre, the main musical contribution of Bez (Mark Berry) was comically inept dancing and a bit of tambourine.
  • The intro to Queensryche's song 'Empire':

  It hit me like an, uh...ten ton...heavy thing

  • "Hat Shaped Hat" by Ani Difranco. " walked a man in the shape of a man holding a hat-shaped hat..."
  • 'Paramore's "We Are Broken" gives us the gem: "Your arms, like towers, tower over me."
  • Phil Collins expresses an idea this way in "Two Hearts":

  But if you don't put faith in what you're believin', it's getting you nowhere

    • Which was then reiterated by his 1999 song "Two Worlds"

  Put your faith in what you most believe in. Two worlds, one family.

  • "Killed By Death" by Motorhead.
  • Arlo Guthrie begins his famous Shaggy Dog Story "Alices Restaurant" by informing the audience that "this song is called 'Alice's Restaurant.' It's about Alice, and the restaurant, but 'Alice's Restaurant' is not the name of the restaurant, that's just the name of the song. And that's why I call the song 'Alice's Restaurant.'"
  • Flight of the Conchords' "Rambling Through The Avenues Of Time" includes the line "her eyes were reflections of eyes".
  • Spamalot has 'The song that goes like this'.
  • In the U2 song "Who's Going To Ride Your Wild Horses", Bono sings about someone who "left my heart as empty as a vacant lot".
  • Mika's melancholic ballad "Any Other World" contains the Narm-worthy line, "I tried to live alone, but lonely is so lonely alone."
  • The debut album from Strapping Young Lad is titled "Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing."
  • David Bowie's "Changes" has the line "Strange fascination, fascinating me".
  • In "Get With the Times", Cool Calm Pete (which is a pretty redundant name in and of itself) advises the listener to "pray for your fake phony facade."
  • "All You Need Is Love"

 There's nothing you can do that can't be done

Nothing you can sing that can't be sung...


 All of a sudden there shined a shiny demon

    • An older version at least made it "shone a shiny demon", which is just as redundant, but shined was probably funnier, because it sounded more redundant.
  • Spinal Tap's classic "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight":

 Tonight I'm gonna rock you (tonight I'm gonna rock you)

Tonight I'm gonna rock you (tonight I'm gonna rock you)


  • Van Halen had on "Why Can't This Be Love": "Only time will tell if we stand the test of time".
  • All-4-One/Music/ChristinaAguilera, "I Turn To You": "For the strength to be strong".
  • In one Tom Chapin song, two girls tell the other kids not to play with Bruno because he's "a dweeb". When pressed for the definition of "dweeb", they define it as "like Bruno".
  • In Rebecca Black's "song" "Friday", we get gems like "Yesterday was Thursday/Today it is Friday", and "Gotta have my bowl/Gotta have my cereal"
  • In the course of Da Vinci's Notebook's Uncle Buford Mega-Mix, "Uncle Buford" asks, "You ever eat worms? They taste like... worms."
  • The B 52s: There's a moon in the sky... called the moon.
  • "She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes."
  • Clint Black's "Wherever You Go"..."there you are".
  • Laibach: the songs "God is God" and "Life is Life (Leben Heist Leben)"
  • "Flight" by Van der Graaf Generator frontman Peter Hammill:

 He say nothing is quite what it seems

I say nothing is nothing.

  • "After the Fox", written by Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis, and performed by the Hollies: Who is the Fox? I am the Fox! Who are you? I am me! Who is me? Me is a thief!

Newspaper Comics Printed In The Comics Section Of Newspapers


 Lucy: You're not afraid of a little pain, are you?

Linus: Of course I am. PAIN HURTS!!

  • One of the supporting characters in Popeye comics was George W. Geezil, a local cobbler. George hated Wimpy, often stating that Wimpy "should be killed to death".
  • Hagar the Horrible once asks Lucky Eddie how it feels to be so thin. The answer is that it feels about the same as being fat... only thinner.

Relatively Recent Media Forms That Are New Rather Than Old

  • Eroge (a Japanese abbreviation of "Erotic Game") are sometimes referred to as "Eroge games" in text.

Professional Wrestling and Grappling Done at a Professional Level

  • WWE's Jack Swagger's alias is "The All-American American".
    • It has been parodied a couple of times. Most memorably when Shawn Michaels described Swagger as the "All-American American American American American". (Swagger, whether out of fondness for Michaels or amusement at the joke, has since adopted the term.)
  • After turning on his brother Bret Hart, Owen Hart, as is custom, cut a promo explaining the motivations for his Face Heel Turn. Which he ended by saying, "And that's why I kicked your leg out from under your leg."
  • Back when ECW was an independent wrestling company, they had the website ECW wrestling. Extreme Championship Wrestling wrestling.
    • That's been a rather common thing with many wrestling companies with the words in their acronyms. All WWE broadcasts end with the WWE logo and underneath it "WWE Entertainment", which comes out to "World Wrestling Entertainment Entertainment".
  • CM Punk looks like a punk.
  • When he was still Mr. Kennedy (before he left WWE and became Mr. Anderson in TNA), Mr. Kennedy once introduced himself, perhaps referencing Austin Powers, by saying "Please allow myself to introduce myself!"
  • Ken Patera faced Bobby Heenan in a debate over his prison sentence and remarked, "I had a lot of time to think about the Bobby Heenan types of this world. Types like yourself!"

Stand up comedy performed on stage to make people laugh

  • British comedian Simon Munnery, in his stand up show Hello illustrates a point with a Venn diagram, consisting of two overlapping circles, one labelled Diagrams, one labelled Overlapping Circles and the overlap labelled Venn Diagrams.
  • Aziz Ansari: "Could you imagine blowing a guy (for a half hour!) for sold-out concert tickets and then finding out they're selling them at the door? That'd be like blowing a guy for a half hour for sold-out concert tickets and then finding out they're selling them at the door. There's no other way to complete that analogy 'cause that's the shittiest thing that could ever happen to you."
  • One of comedian Frank Caliendo's more famous routines is his John Madden impersonation routine, which uses Madden's own predilection for Shaped Like Itself and Captain Obvious combined with an impersonation both vocal and using body language to create comedy.

Transmitted Wireless Radio

  • Adventures in Odyssey: Eugene temporarily moves in with Bernard while his dorm room is being fumigated, and it’s not long before they're at each other's throats.

 Whit: I'm amazed that two grown men can't sit down and discuss their problems like... like two grown men!

  • The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy: Zaphod lands in a cave made out of marble, and tries to compare it to the slipperiest thing Ford can think of. Unfortunately, the slipperiest thing Ford can think of is the marble, leading to the statement "This marble is as slippery as this marble."
    • Slartibartfast's workshop contains a chair that looks like it was made out of the ribcage of a Stegosaurus. "It was made out of the ribcage of a Stegosaurus," Slartibartfast explains.
    • There's also apparently a blue policeman that's "shaped like a policeman!"
    • And we mustn't forget "The Cricket Song" from Episode 15: "Our lovely world's so lovely. . ."
  • A guest on an NPR program once described "MRE meals". Meals-Ready-to-Eat meals.
  • The Goon Show: The episode "The Nadger Plague" features this opening narration: "It was in the year 1656 that the dreaded nadger plague swept across Europe like the Dreaded Nadger Plague of 1656."

Playable Tabletop Games That Can Be Played On Top Of A Table

  • Warhammer 40000's fluff for the orks states that orks who have themselves wired into Killa Kans find that the biggest downside to being permanently sealed inside a giant metal can is being permanently sealed inside a giant metal can.

Staged Theatrical Plays Featuring Live Performers


 Polonius: Your noble son is mad:

Mad call I it, for to define true madness,

What is't but to be nothing else but mad?

But let that go.

    • Redundant speeches were pretty much Polonius' shtick when he wasn't busy being self-contradictory.
    • Also, in Act II, scene i, Hamlet and Polonius have this little exchange:

 Polonius: What do you read, my lord?

Hamlet: Words, words, words.


 Juliet: What must be, shall be.

Priest: Well that's a certain text.


 Sir Andrew: To be up late is to be up late!


Feste: For, as the old hermit of Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily said to a niece of King Gorboduc, "That that is is;" so I, being Master Parson, am Master Parson; for, what is "that" but "that", and "is" but "is"?


Olivia: What kind o' man is he?

Malvolio: Why, of mankind.

    • As does Timon of Athens:

 Timon: If there sit twelve women at this table, let a dozen of them be as they are.


Apemantus: Where liest o' nights, Timon?

Timon: Under that's above me.

Where feed'st thou o' days, Apemantus?

Apemantus: Where my stomach finds meat; or, rather, where I eat it.


 Don Pedro: Officers, what offence have these men done?

Dogberry: Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

    • Also Don Pedro's reply: "First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge."
  • Macbeth: What's done is done.
  • Julius Caesar's assassins proclaim: "freedom, liberty and enfranchisement."
    • "For Brutus is an honorable man; So are they all, all honorable men."
  • Measure for Measure's Angelo helpfully declares: "Blood, thou art blood."
  • The play Murdered to Death! by Peter Gordon, a parody of Agatha Christie murder mysteries.
  • The musical Curtains has one character describe a song as "kinda lackluster. It lacks... luster."
  • Along similar lines to the Josef Švejk example above, a quote by Jan Werich (possibly from one of his plays at the Liberated Theatre):

 Once a man is, he should make sure he is. And once he makes sure he is, and is, he should be what he is, and shouldn't be what he's not, as is often the case.


 Soldier: You know what this is, of course?

Pseudolus: Of course I know what this is. This is... writing. And a pretty piece of work it is too.

And Later:

Pseudolus: I know what it says here: Words!

  • In the Last Supper scene of Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus expresses his contempt for Judas's treachery by exclaiming, "You liar! You Judas!"
  • In Art by Yasmina Reza, Serge describes "a man of his time" as "a man who his own time."
    • Later, Yvan shares an insight from his therapist:

 Yvan: If I'm who I am because I'm who I am, and you're who you are because you're who you are, then I'm who I am and you're who you are. If on the other hand, I'm who I am because you're who you are, and if you're who you are because I'm who I am, then I'm not who I am and you're not who you are.

Marc: How much do you pay this man?


Electronic Videogames Which Can Be Played Via Digital Apparati


 Knuckles: I'll punch this thing with my fist!

  • Many characters throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog series are named after color schemes (Shadow, Silver, Rouge) or some obvious physical trait (Tails and Knuckles).
    • Shadow the Hedgehog's theme song: Starts with "I am all I am I all I am." then goes to "I am, I am I'm all of me." and then on the last verse takes it Up to Eleven with "I am, I am everyone, everywhere, any how, any way, any will, any day..."
  • In Chrono Cross, the Goldfish Poop Gang member Solt says things are "painfully painful", "obviously obvious", etc.
  • The cake recipe in Portal involves "sediment-shaped sediment" and a whole series of fish-shaped things shaped like fish.
  • A Boy and His Blob: COCONUT = COCONUT. It means that the blob will turn into a coconut (which you can throw) if you feed him coconut gum jellybeans. Just abbreviated.
  • Divine Divinity.
  • The Big Bad of Guild Wars Prophecies is referred to in-game as the "Undead Lich."
  • The item description for a lemon in Kingdom of Loathing is "This is a lemon. It's shaped exactly like a lemon." A lime's description is "This is a lime. Like a lemon, it's shaped like a lemon. Unlike a lemon, it's a lime."
    • One of the main locations in the game is the Mysterious Island of Mystery.
      • Quoth one adventure, "You should not be here! You should really beat feet! / If those demons find you, you're dead as dead meat!"
    • The Continuum Transfunctioner is a vital item. Its description is quoted straight from the film.
  • Fallout includes a Cathedral of the Children of the Cathedral. They're not even sure why they say Cathedral twice.
  • Ragnarok Online has an item called Earthen Bow. Its description is as such: "A bow that looks like it is made in a natural way, making it look like it looks quite natural."
  • Unique monsters in Diablo 2 have random name generators. Results? Bloodcloud the Cloud, and such...
    • It can also happen with the stock effect phrases for random loot names, such as a light leather belt that increases your light radius in dark places, or as the game calls it, a "Light Belt of Light." While this is not technically redundant since the item in question is a light(weight) belt that produces light(illumination), it still sounds funny.
    • Then there are the skills that let you interact with corpses. While you've got one selected, mousing over a body will display its name as "<monster name> Corpse", which is sensible enough. However, due to the way some monsters are named, it occasionally throws up such gems as "Decayed Corpse Corpse" or "Corpse Axe the Dead Corpse".
  • There is a Commodore-64 game titled Killed Until Dead. (The notion of killing someone to death sure seems to be popular...)
  • In the Polish translation of Neverwinter Nights, one of the soundsets has a line Zabiję cię! Zabiję na śmierć!, which means exactly I'll kill you! I'll kill you to death!!
  • In Saints Row, one of your lieutenants points out that calling Los Carnales, a rival gang, "The Los Carnales" is redundant, since "Los" means "The." He gets upset later on when he accidentally calls them "The Los Carnales."
  • It's very common to see users on World of Warcraft saying something along the lines of "Please PST me", not knowing that PST is an abbreviation for "Please Send Tell".
    • Also, Looking For Group or Looking For More/Mate can mean the same thing in real life, but LFG and LFM mean you're alone or you have some other guys respectively.
    • Enraged Crusher has become enraged!
  • The Western title of the game Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven essentially translates to "Heaven's Wrath: Wrath of Heaven"
  • Baldur's Gate:

  Dynaheir: Minsc is, well, Minsc.

    • Of course, in this case, the information is in the pronunciation, not in the words. Thats why this isn’t really a tautology (but is still shaped like itself).
  • Anyone who has even a passing knowledge of Spanish will get hours of amusement out of Resident Evil 4's incessant referencing of "The Los Illuminados"--see "The El Niño" down in Real Life.
  • In Earthbound, when the librarian in Onett gives you the map item, she helpfully informs you that "all the info is there, except the info that isn't there".
  • Any time John Madden is in a football game, such as Madden NFL, he uses such sounds-like-itself phrases as, "You know, the receiver can't catch the ball if the quarterback doesn't throw it!" or "Usually, the team with the most points wins!"
  • Anachronox's super-villain Rictus says one line, a slight variation of the main example.
  • Welcome to Hell Temple. This place is one that none should come to. If thou will have no regrets regardless of what happens, proceed. This is Hell Temple. Hell Temple is Hell!
  • In Mass Effect 2, Mordin lampshades this while singing his own rendition of Modern Major General

 I'm quite good at genetics (as a subset of biology)

Because I am an expert (which I know is a tautology)

  • Colette is Colette." (However, the hot coffee that is actually iced coffee is, hot.)
  • Actual Tomba 2 dialogue: "It's a fire hammer. It's a hammer with the power of fire."
  • In The Sims, the description for the Oval Glass Sconce reads, "It's Oval!!! It's Glass!!! It's a Sconce!!!"
    • In The Sims Medieval, a bit of quest dialogue refers to an item your hero is carrying as a "mouse-filled bag of mice."
  • In the Silent Hill Shattered Memories Brady Games player's guide, its explanation on the monsters in the game on page 41 has this as its first line, "The strange creatures you see are creatures."
  • What about Franziska von Karma's foolery in the second Ace Attorney game? "Foolish fool who foolishly dreams of foolish dreams." Also, "A fool is a fool who will only listen to the foolish opinions of other foolish fools." The list goes on and on…
  • Alistair in Dragon Age, on Morrigan: "Beautiful just something that's also dangerous. Like a...beautiful dangerous thing."
  • In Left 4 Dead 2's Dark Carnival campaign, there's a lot of posters for a Fake Band named the Midnight Riders. Each band member has their own title, like "The Lover", "The Drinker", or "The Brawler". Ox, the drummer, gets a title of "The Drummer".
  • In Blaz Blue, resident Cloudcuckoolander Taokaka is Taokaka. Which is her answer to the question of who or what she is when asked "who/what are you?"
  • In King's Quest VI: Heir Today Gone Tomorrow, if you use the hand icon on the tinder box, you are told, "It feels exactly like a tinder box."
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night features a sword named Gram, the description of which reads "The sword named Gram." It also features a sword named Harper. The description for it reads "The sword named Harper."
  • Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner revolves around the big "Race to the End of the Race". In Episode 2: Strong Badia The Free, all the characters create their own independent countries, including the titular Strong Badia, Marzistar/Homezipan, The Homsar Reservation, and Strong Mad's country of... Country.
  • Super Mario RPG has these helpful descriptions:
    • Shirt: "It's a shirt!"
    • Pants: "It's a pair of pants!"
    • Work Pants: "Sweaty work pants!"
    • Finger Shot: "Fingers shoot bullets"
    • ...and so on
  • Near the beginning of Kingdom Hearts, Leon tells Sora, "The Heartless. Those without hearts." Really, Leon? Because I thought we were calling them the Heartless in a metaphorical sort of way that had nothing to do with them being creatures of pure darkness!
  • The title of puzzle game series Deadly Rooms of Death.
  • If you smell the plants in Central Park in Frederik Pohl's Gateway (the text adventure based on the Heechee Saga), you are informed that they smell "very plant-like".
  • In the original Metroid there's an item called the Maru Mari, which is commonly translated as "round ball."
  • The Interactive Fiction game Detective contains this infamous example:

 You are now carrying the wooden wood.

  • Averted with the voice command for calling someone a Spy in Team Fortress 2: using it with your cursor over any given player will result in saying "that [class] is a Spy", but if you use it on someone who already looks like a friendly Spy but may be an enemy Spy, the lines are along the lines of "that's Spy isn't on our side".

Animated Internet Web Animation on the World Wide Web


 The Cheat Theme Song: Who's the man that looks like The Cheat? The Cheat! The Cheat!

Strong Bad: My internet's crawling along like... something... funny... that crawls along.

Homestar Runner: If I had to pick one word to describe myself, it would probably be... Fluffy Puff Marshmallows. Or Homestar. Either one, really. They both fit.

    • Or

 Strong Bad: I dunno. Maybe he's just going to the ATM machine.


    • "Teeeen Girl Squaaaad! Teenage girls between the ages of thirteen and nineteen!"
    • How about "Count Longardeaux's Strong Badian Jerktionary Fo' My Own Words!", or "Count Longardeaux's Strong Badian talkwords for saying from your mouth" for short.
  • Zero Punctuation: "If you find the Japanese offensive, then you'll find this game offensively Japanese."
    • To be fair, what he means is that the game in question is Japanese to a potentially offensive degree; it's like saying "If you like the colour red, you'll find this pleasantly red" to indicate that something is quite red indeed.
    • "Clive Barker's 'Clive Barker's Jericho' by Clive Barker".
  • Space Tree the space tree (in space)!
  • Retarded Animal Babies:

 Cat: 4 is for... tha-that's what it is.

Hamster: Splunge is for Splunge.


 "I baked you a pie!"

"Oh boy, what flavor?"


  • Brain POP's slogan: "The more you know, the more you know".

Illustrated Online Web Comics That Are On the Internet

  • Scary Go Round does this a few times. "You are my loved friend whom I love!"
  • Gunnerkrigg Court Chapter 10 is titled: "Doctor Disaster Versus the Creepy Space Aliens from Outer Space". Doctor Disaster himself feels the need to specify:

 Dr. Disaster: Spacemonauts! The evil Enigmarons are threatening the Earth from their moon base on the moon!

  • Eight Bit Theater had The Elven Royal Crown Of Royalty and the Picturesque Forest of Trees. And many of the main characters.
  • The Order of the Stick has the Wooden Forest, as well as Sunken Valley. In fact, most place names in the comic are either this trope or Exactly What It Says on the Tin. If not both.
    • Elan also tells Haley he would like to see her come back from a dangerous fight "in one big Haley-shaped piece."
    • And Xykon gives us this: "You know what does equal power? Power. Power equals power. Crazy, huh?" Given the situation and that he is using it to make a point about the difference between having real power and only pretending to (going on to say "But the type of power? Doesn't matter as much as you'd think."), it's justified.
    • And a line from the mentally unstable Crystal:

 Crystal: Our thieves are only allowed to steal from the people that our thieves are allowed to steal from!

Bozzok: My employee's circular logic notwithstanding, she is correct.


 Raven: Faye, you're my friend but if you steal Sven away from me I'll murder you so hard you'll die from it.



Anakin: Ooookay, gettin' creepy.


  Primarily known as the guy who looks great in suspenders and ticks an awful lot, Ples is the guy who [unsurprisingly] looks great in suspenders and ticks an awful lot.


 Der Trihs: Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, the killer committed the crime and made it look like a shark attack because the killer was hungry, and happened to be a shark?

(Beat Panel)

Policeman: You obviously know nothing about police work.


  I feel like I'm on a bad reality show, which is ironic because I am on a bad reality show.


Web Original Stories on the Internet

  • The Evil League of Evil, in Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog.
  • In Commentary the Musical, Felicia Day describes art as "magic as a magic thing" and "lovely as love."
  • Linkara's Top 15 Worst Moments of Countdown to Final Crisis declares the number 1 moment to be Countdown itself, justified by saying that Countdown will undoubtedly go down in comics history as nothing more than a moment.
  • In Red vs. Blue, the evil AI O'Malley gives this speech:

 O'Malley: "You fools have fallen right into my hands! Only now do you realize the folly of your follies! Prepare for and oblivion for which there is no preparation!"

  • DrudgeReport logo: leans slightly right; DrudgeRetort logo: leans slightly left.
  • From Dad Cop 2;

 Dad Cop2: "Mr. Kill would always murder his victims... until they died."


Western Animation Cartoons from the Occidental World

  • Popeye. "That's all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"
    • "I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam."
    • In one of the Paramount shorts, when Bluto is carrying off Olive, she yells, "Let go of me you... you you, you!"
  • A good example of a pleonasm is He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Of course, they couldn't just call him Man.
    • Of course, "he-man" did have the advantage of being a real word.
  • Dr Zoidberg pulled a truly spectacular five-hit combo on Futurama: "My next clue came at 4:15, when the clock stopped. And another came two hours later at 4:15, when I discovered the murdered body of Amy's dead, deceased corpse."
    • And in another episode:

 Fry: I'm literally angry with rage!

    • And another:

 Fry: There, on the screen! It's that guy you are!

      • Lampshaded in the commentary:

 "I love when Fry forgets how to talk."

    • Subverted in the episode "Crimes of the Hot", where Professor Farnsworth receives a Polluting Medal of Pollution, whose name appears to be redundant but actually refers to the fact that it's a pollution-related medal that releases pollution itself.
    • How could anyone forget about the wonderfully wonderful New Justice Team from Less Than Hero?

 Go, go, go New Justice Team

Go team, go team, team team team

Who's that newest Justice Team?

The New Justice Team

Captain Yesterday is fast

Also he is from the past

Not just fast but from the past

Captain Yesterday!

Super King has all the powers of a King

Plus all the power of Superman,

Also he's a robot

Ain't it cool? Super King you rule!

Cloberella beats you up

Cloberella beats you up

Who does she beat up? You!!


Citizens, never fear

Crazy do-good freaks are here

Until they run out of steam...

Miracle cream, miracle cream

Gives the power to the team

Its effects wear off for sure

So they just slop on some more.

The New Justice Team!

    • Also, when Fry causes a rift in the time space continuum or some such,

 Al Gore: You fool! You foolish fool!

    • "The Deep South" has:

 Farnsworth: Fry, you half-mad, half-insane maniac! Be reasonable!

    • In "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings," after Bender protests to the Robot Devil that he is unwilling to make a deal:

 Robot Devil: Really? There's nothing you want?

Bender: Hmmm. I forgot you could tempt me with things I want...

  • Mojo Jojo's elliptical and recursive dialogue in The Powerpuff Girls frequently visits this territory, sometimes with an overnight bag in hand.
    • See also this little speech from Bubbles:

 "Yeah. We were flying to Mojo Jojo's house. I like flying. Oh, and then there were these really pretty clouds. And there was one that was shaped like a heart, and there was this one that looked like a pretty pony, and there was one that looked like a cloud..."

    • And then there was the time when Bubbles suffered from Easy Amnesia and thought she was Mojo...

 Mr. Krabs: Do you smell it? That smell. A kind of smelly smell. The smelly smell that smells... smelly.

    • In the same episode, SpongeBob calls the Krusty Krab "the finest eating establishment ever established for eating".
    • Also from a SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "The Bully":

 SpongeBob: Do not cheer me, fellow adult students. Flatts is the real victim here. A victim of a society that's going down a violent road to nowhere... a road I call... Violence Road.

    • From "Big Pink Loser":'

 Patrick: Hey SpongeBob, guess what? I got an award!

SpongeBob: That's great, Patrick. What's it for?

Patrick: See for yourself.

SpongeBob: "For outstanding achievement in achievement."

    • From "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III":

  Mermaid Man: Prolonged exposure to the orb of confusion will give you... confusion!"

    • Thinking of Mrs. Puff alone and afraid in jail makes SpongeBob think of...Mrs. Puff being alone and afraid in jail.
  • Thumbtanic: "She's neekid... and she ain't got no clothes on neither!"
  • American Dad: "I am a sex offender. I like offensive sex. I offend people with the sex I have," said by a sex offender. In American Dad.
  • Invader Zim: In one episode, Gir dons a human-like robot disguise to save Zim, uttering the words: "I am government man, come from the government. The government has sent me."
    • "It's a government android!"
    • "They locked up their fortress...with LOCKS!" line by Zim.
  • The Venture Brothers: "You have a picture of a shrink ray ON the shrink ray gun. That is totally retarded."
  • The Tick animated series featured a villain who called himself the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight (yeah, baby!).
    • With the immortal line "An object at rest cannot be stopped!"
  • Doug has "Man-O-Steel Man", a Captain Ersatz of Superman.
  • Dr. Director, Director of Global Justice in Kim Possible.

 Drakken: My new death ray is killer!

Ron: Dude, isn't that redundant?

    • Also Ron's martial arts instructor Master Sensei.
  • South Park:

 Randy: If we're still alive in the morning, then we'll know we're not dead.

  • King of the Hill has Dale Gribble yelling about his father, who kissed Dale's wife on their wedding day:

 Dale: "I loved my Dad like a father, and he betrayed me like a betrayer!"

  • Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons firmly believes that "Fun toys are fun!"
    • Did you know that his cat's breath smells like cat food?
    • His father once ran a booth in a renaissance fair that featured amazing mythical creatures.

 Chief Wiggum: Behold, the two headed dog, born with only one head! And behold, out of the mists of time, the legendary Esquilax, a horse with the head of a rabbit, and the body...of a rabbit.

    • From "Fear Of Flying":

 Air hostess: Due to our policy of overselling flights, this flight has been oversold.

    • From "Dumbbell Indemnity":

 Moe: "I'm just gonna die lonely and ugly and dead."


 You will always be my little brothers

Because you're younger, we're related

And you're boys

    • In "The Ballad of Badbeard", Dr. Doofenshmirtz has a pair of crocodiles, both named Susan, in his new evil lair. "I named them after each other!"
    • "SPACE ADVENTURE! It's an adventure in space!"
    • In "Skiddley Whiffers", Dr. Doofenshmirtz claims "Fire is the leading cause of fire."
  • In the Disney Animated Canon version of Robin Hood, a group of young boys has this chant:

 Spider, snakes and a lizard's head

If I tattletale, I'll die till I'm dead.

  • Carmine, a parasitic talent agent who lived in Zorak's throat on The Brak Show did this a lot.

 Carmine: That voice of yours is a goldmine. That's right, a mine fulla gold!

Carmine: Mansionland, that's right, a land fulla mansions!

  • Early Cuyler and most of the other characters on Squidbillies are prone to this from time to time. With such lines as "Worky jobs" and "money checks".
    • "TV lookity-box"
    • "Thirty five dollars a month?! Monthly?! Every month?!"

 Early: And I was gonna ventilate yo head brain with this here gun bullet.

Lerm: Gun bullet, heh, that's redundant.


 Bloat: You're from the Big Blue? What's it like?

Nemo: Well, it's, uh, big, and it's blue.

Bloat: I knew it!

    • In the latinamerican translation is funnier because Bloat instead of replying "knew it" He says "that's weird."
  • Clone High: JFK's attempt at being threatening to Abe and Gandhi in the bathroom.

 JFK: I will see you there! And by will, I mean won't! (Laughs and leaves)

(Returning) Cos you're not invited. I, er, wasn't sure if I was clear earlier. So... you're not. Invited, that is. (Leaves)

(Returns) To my party! (Leaves)

(Returns) Forgot to wash my hands!

  • Twelve Ounce Mouse: "Then aspirin was invented, the common cure for things that aspirin cures."
  • The wonderful thing about tiggers, is tiggers are wonderful things. And Tigger is the only one.
  • When introduced to "The Black Raven" in Wakfu, Yugo immediately points out that all ravens are black, and he and his friends attempt to find him a better name.
  • In The Lion King, "Simba" translates to "lion" in Swahili. So they effectively named the lion in The Lion King "lion".
  • One of the best-named cartoon villains ever is Word Girl's Lady Redundant Woman.
  • Invoked by The Question in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Question Authority", to prove the whole conspiracy behind Lex Luthor's presidential campaign (harkening back to the parallel universe from "A Better World", in which Luthor had become President and killed Flash as part of his plans):

  Everything that exists has a specific nature. Each entity exists as something in particular and has certain characteristics that are part of what it is. "A" is "A"... And, no matter what reality he calls home, Luthor is Luthor.

    • And Galatea.

  "Boredom is my kryptonite. Well, actually, kryptonite is my kryptonite."

  • In the Maryoku Yummy episode "The Ninth Wish," when Shika confiscates the eponymous wish (as wishsitters are only allowed to watch eight wishes at a time), Fij Fij worries that Shika won't let it have any fun, and Ooka adds, "Or give it any hugs!" This prompts Maryoku to say, "Without fun and hugs, that poor little wish will be... without fun and hugs!"
    • In "Scatterday," Shika reads the rules for Scatterday, the second of which is "The first one to find the Scatter Crown is the first one to find the Scatter Crown."
  • If you were to cook any slower... why you wouldn't be cooking very fast, now would you?
  • The quirky speech pattern that is the Verbal Tic of Angela Anaconda
  • The Point "And needless to say, business was brisk, and the competition was...competitive."
    • "He's a very industrious industrialist."
  • A common feature of Julien's dialogue in The Penguins of Madagascar, e.g. "It is I, who is me!" and "What is up with the un-big tiny littleness of my royal estate?"
  • Teen Titans

 Starfire: I came here to notify you about the Brotherhood of Evil. They mean to harm us all. They are quite evil.

Argent: Hence the name.


The Non-Fictitious Real World That is Real

  • One of the definitions and goals of Metaphysics--the Philosophy Tropes not the other stuff--is this. Namely "how to say something and have meaning." E.g. a circle is red vs. a circle is a circle. This happens because if you want pure knowledge you strip the things that can vary, namely emperical observation. (It's a bird, no it's a plane.) With those gone the only 100% sure things are tautologies. Getting beyond that is the metaphysicist's job.
  • In mathematics, the Identity Postulate is X = X.
  • Some people write the word that a symbol represents afterwards, e.g. "10% percent" or "$20 dollars".
  • This can be used in SQL Injection attacks against authentication forms. When the input isn't treated separately from the code you can 'OR' the check with a tautology in an input field, such that the result is always true. In badly designed systems this means you'll automatically get access. For example, enter the username and password: ' OR 'A' = 'A (with exactly those quotes).
  • The El Niño current is practically saying "The The Boy Current"; the male and female articles "El" and "La" from Spanish are treated in this way a lot, hey, even Spanish has words (of arabic origin) through that process, and they got to English... Alchemy (from Alquimia from, according to most sources, "Al Khmi", "the black earth", as opposed to barren sand, made right with the words "Quimica" and "Alquimia"), Alfajor ("Al Fasur"; The Nectar, The Fancy/Great Sweets) and Alligator (El lagarto; The Lizard)
    • The Alhambra. It was originally al-Qasr al-Hamra ("The Red Fortress") in Arabic, then passed into Spanish as "la Alhambra." So basically its current name is not from what it is, but what color it is, and has too many definite articles to boot.
  • "Ramen Noodles". The "men" or "mein" in the word is the Japanese and Chinese word for noodles (probably).
  • RAS (Redundant Acronym Syndrome) syndrome, the condition afflicting such common phrases as "PIN (Personal Identification Number) number," "ATM (automatic teller machine) machine," "MLB (major league baseball) baseball," "RAS (redundant acronym syndrome) syndrome," and many others. PIN Number, when spoken (rather than typed), however, is apparently not redundancy but instead serves as clarification. In case someone thought you were asking for the other type of pin, presumably.
  • The English (possibly Welsh) placename 'Torfell Hill' contains three different versions of the English language, each of which says 'hill' in their own way. At some time, of course, the place was 'the tor' (simply the local hill above the village); then, most likely, it became, after the language moved on; 'tor fell' (which means 'hill hill'); and to cap the redundancy level, it later became, after another local language upgrade, 'Torfell Hill!'. Pendle Hill has a similar issue in Lancashire.
    • They had some fun on QI with that sort of thing. Torpenhow though is a compound word of Tor (meaning hill), Pen (meaning hill), and how (meaning hill), so Torpenhow Hill means Hill Hill Hill Hill. They mentioned more examples.
  • Also in the UK, the River Avon (with several towns including Shakespeare's birthplace named after their being built alongside it) is named from the Welsh word for River.
    • There are multiple rivers named Avon, and multiple towns named Stratford, though apparently only one is on an Avon (that being Stratford-upon-Avon, Will's aforementioned home town).
    • And the same applies to several rivers called Ouse, into one of which Virginia Woolf walked with her pockets full of stones. In fact, many British rivers turn out to have names that were pre-Celtic tribal words for 'river'. In much the same way that Londoners tend to speak of 'The River' meaning the Thames.
  • Some Republican candidates would rather ballots list their party affiliation as "GOP Party". "GOP" stands for "Grand Old Party."
  • Very common in the US sports media, particularly when they refer to acronyms of college sports conference names and forget that the C at the end always stands for "Conference": ACC conference, SEC conference, WAC conference, MAC conference, etc.
  • Inverted in the case of a [NIC Card], which is used for networking. Most people think it stands for Network Interface Card, when the C is actually Controller and not redundant at all.
    • Similarly "PDF file" is perfectly well-formed, expanding to "portable document format file".
    • Plato is fond of philosophizing about how "beauty is a thing that possesses beauty," in his dialogs. He also devotes passages to explain how even numbers can never be odd, which should be apparent by definition.
  • People who order "chai tea". Cause chai means... yeah. Although it's now necessary, since you can also get a chai latte.
    • Some restaurants have Soup of the Day. Some restaurants Soupe du Jour. And then some restaurants sell Soupe du Jour of the Day — Soup of the Day of the Day.
    • Many restaurants that sell French dip sandwiches offer them "with au jus sauce". "Au jus" is French for "with juice".
    • Another example is the dish lobster scampi. "Scampi" being Italian for "lobster," you're eating lobster lobster. As with the "au jus" example, though, "scampi" is a specific preparation style. This has resulted in scampi dishes that contain no lobster whatsoever, such as shrimp scampi and veal scampi.
  • The Los Angeles Angels baseball team. When translated, it comes out to "The The Angels Angels." You could be pedantic and translate it as "The Angels of 'The Angels'". Yes, a team called "The Angels" from a place also called "The Angels". Makes more sense. Officially, they're the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
    • Or you could be even more pedantic, and say that it's really "El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles Angels," which translates to "The Town of the Queen of the Angels Angels," which, while it sounds weird, isn't actually an example of this trope.
  • Similarly, "The LaBrea Tar Pits" are actually "The The Tar Tar Pits".
  • Often seen on packets of cigarettes and/or tobacco: "WARNING! Smoking may lead to life-threatening cancer." As opposed to the slightly annoying, non-life-threatening variety.
    • This was "predicted" by Yes Minister, which had Bernard suggesting a warning label along the lines of "Dying of lung cancer can be hazardous to your health."
    • Similar to how some side effects of certain drugs can lead to "heart attacks, stroke, sudden loss of consciousness, and death." As if the previous symptoms couldn't lead to death. This is actually an aversion though since side effects of side effects aren't usually listed.
  • In the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) they always have to remind you that "cheating is strictly forbidden". Cheating means breaking the rules to your own advantage. So the reminder states "breaking the rules is against the rules".
    • Actually, due to the word "strictly" being there, it states "breaking the rules is strictly against the rules", which could be interpreted to mean "there will be no tolerance for cheating".
  • The Connecticut River translates into the "Beside The Long Tidal River River".
    • The Ohio River translates into the "Large River River".
    • The Mississippi River translates as "Great River River".
    • Many who insist on using the indigenous name will put it between "the" and "people". Many names for ethnic groups are simply their word for "people". As a result, we have "the people people"
  • Many foreign phrases are used wrong, like "the hoi polloi" (the the masses).
  • Jeb Bush's first name stands for John Ellis Bush.
  • Let's not forget those infamous recursive acronyms, such as G(((((Not UNIX)'s Not UNIX)'s Not UNIX)'s Not UNIX)'s Not UNIX...
  • Similarly, there is a local thrift store / charity / volunteer organization called "The LISTEN Center". LISTEN stands for "LISTEN In Service To Every Neighbor". So, The L(((isten In Service To Every Neighbor)isten In Service To Every Neighbor )isten In Service To Every Neighbor)... Center.
  • Two major users and/or abusers of tautologies in real life are Yogi Berra and David Coleman.
    • Some Yogi tautologies (there's so many they have their own name, Yogisms) are:

 "Ninety percent of putts that fall short don't go in."

"It ain't over till it's over."

"It's like déjà vu all over again."

"Half the lies they tell me aren't true."

"If I didn't wake up, I'd still be sleeping."

"You can observe a lot by watching."

(after watching a Steve McQueen movie) "He must have made that when he was alive."

      • Of course, Yogi Berra collected all the things he said — and that other people said that he said — in the book "I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said". So he may have said everything listed here, except for the ones he didn't say.
    • Some Coleman tautologies ("Colemanballs") are:

 "If that had gone in, it would have been a goal."

"The Italians are hoping for an Italian victory."

"Forest have now lost six matches without winning."

  • A startling number of the coaches' comments on pregame sports programs boil down to, "The key to winning tonight is to score more points than the other guys and stop them from doing the same."
    • Football commentator John Madden is either infamous or popular (depending on whether you like his commentary or not) for this kind of commentary. People either love or hate him for it depending on what they think of it.
    • Bjorn Borg, on How to Win in Tennis: I have to hit the ball over the net one more time than the other guy.
  • Also stemming from the world of sports (probably): [Person] being [Person]. "Manny being Manny" may not have actually been the first one, but it was the one that started the craze of referring to everyone who's a little bit quirky in this fashion. Then again, maybe it was the first: Recently it was shown that this line was first quoted in print way back in 1995, Manny's second strike-shortened full year in the big leagues.
    • The end of the above sentence put into code. I'll reprint it here: "[[strike:strike-shortened]]".
    • I'm pretty sure it originated at least a decade-and-a-half earlier with "Let Reagan be Reagan."
  • And let us not forget Brooke Shields' immortal testimony before Congress: "Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."
  • Not to mention the various misstatements made by Dan Quayle. Including the following (probably apocryphal) one:

 "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."

"The future will be better tomorrow."

  • "If we played like that every week we wouldn't be so inconsistent" — Bryan Robson.
  • Six words: "Wherever you go, there you are."
    • For that matter, "You are here."
      • According to email legend, there is a train station somewhere in Japan which has a large sign stating "YOU ARE HERE" on the wall. And no map.
      • Around the student campus of a Finnish university, there's a sign with only the words "you are here" (in Finnish) and a large red dot. There is also a corresponding half-a-meter diameter red circle painted on the ground next to the sign.
  • In the US military, unclassified computer systems are logged into with a "Common Access Card", which true to its name, is the same basic ID card used for everything else. This is shortened to CAC (pronounced "cack"). Many people insist on the phrase "CAC card". Unfortunately, said individuals tend to be your commanding officer.
    • Also, the computers are set to audibly remind you to remove your ID after a few minutes of inactivity. The phrase? "Please remove your CAC from the CAC reader".
    • Similarly, Disneyland gives guests with disabilities that aren't necessarily visible a Guest Assistance Card, also known as a GAC, or "GAC card."
  • "No Unauthorised Access" is the same as "No Trespassing", only worse. If you think about it, what it says is that if you're not allowed to enter, then you're not allowed to enter.
    • Possibly more egregious is "Unauthorized Access is Prohibited"
  • Unix is rife with this sort of thing. For example, the ELM email client stands for "ELectronic Mail." When it doesn't resort to outright Recursive Acronyms.
  • TLA = Three Letter Acronym, XTLA = eXtended Three Letter Acronym (4 letters). Or ETLA = Extended Three Letter Acronym and ELTLA = Even Longer Three Letter Acronym
    • The above actually are not as self-referential as they're trying to be - they're initialisms, not acronyms, as they cannot themselves be easily read out as words. *TLI would have been playing it straight, though.
    • FLAW = Four Letter Acronymic Word.
  • Probably the original:

 Q: What's brown and sticky?

A: A stick.


  Jon: Yes, A equals A... it's what's known in math as the retarded-ive property!

  • Overheard: You know that saying about how if you teach a man to fish, he can fish?
  • "Drugs and alcohol," even though alcohol is a drug.
    • Even worse is "alcohol and substance abuse," since the term "substance abuse" was coined specifically to include both alcohol and illegal drugs.
    • Several anti-drug campaigns now feature the term "alcohol and illegal drugs..." However, this is just as bad: these ads are targeted towards minors, to whom alcohol is an illegal drug... Largely this can be said to be a form of Stealth Cigarette Commercial: the term "drugs" has been so linked, morally to "illegal drugs" that even anti-drug groups are shy about associating things like Alcohol and Tobacco with the phrase, even though they both meet the technical requirements.
  • The term "LCD display". LCD stands for "liquid crystal display". At least, with "screen" and "monitor" and other terms being used as LCD becomes a more common term, "LCD display" itself is becoming less common.
    • However, be careful: an "LED display" is perfectly unexceptionable, since it expands out to "light emitting diode display".
  • In Mathematics, there is the Reflexive Property. It states that any value is equal to itself.
    • A lot of theorems in calculus tell you that what you think happens happens. This led to the following joke:

 Q: What's a small red round thing with a cherry pit inside?

A: A cherry.

This is sometimes known as The Cherry Theorem.

  • Magic the Gathering has some pretty hefty and thorough wording in its comprehensive rules, one of which amounts to: "the winner of the game is the sole remaining player that hasn't lost the game." Despite sounding pretty ridiculous, it actually serves to clarify that under normal tournament rules, there can't be more than one winning player or team. If something would knock out all players at the exact same time, then nobody "wins".
    • Even better is the card Platinum Angel: "You can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game." It's worded that way because if it just said "you can't lose" then cards that say "do x to win the game" would still cause the opponent to "win" (and it would create a nonsensical state where your opponent won but you hadn't lost), and if it just said "your opponent's can’t win" then you could still "lose" by the ordinary ways (having 0 life points, etc.) (this doesn't create the nonsensical state, though, because Platinum Angel's effect would end when you lost and then the opponent would be the sole remaining player and thus would win).
      • Even worse(?), it's necessary that the card specify "the game" and the rules clarify what the term means, as (while this should never happen in a tournament setting) there are ways in which you can be forced into playing additional games against the same opponents and there are ways in which a card played by somebody who isn't even in your game can affect it. It's still theoretically possible to start a game, play Platinum Angel at some point before that game ends, and lose the game without Platinum Angel having left play... but the text makes it as difficult to arrange as possible.
  • "I don't know. A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." Thank you, Jean Chretien.
  • "We'll be okay unless something unforeseen happens, but quite frankly, I can't foresee that happening."
  • RSVP is an abbreviation for Répondez, s'il vous plaît, which is French for "Respond, please". So any party invitation that requests that you "please RSVP" is being unintentionally needy: "please respond, please."
  • A particularly stupid example: in rebranding, the Federal Express corporation named one of their subsidiaries FedEx Express.
  • There is a well-known vendor of graphics processor chips formerly known by the name "ATI Technologies Inc.". "ATI" originally stood for "Array Technologies Incorporated".
  • There is a WWI Era song to the tune of auld lang syne where the lyrics are "We're here because we're here because we're here because...". No, really. It's in Horrible Histories and everything.
    • This was a bit of gallows humour over the fact that most of the troops had no idea why they were there due to the incredibly complex arrangement of alliances and pacts that led to WWI.
  • From Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy's "I'm a man! I'm forty!" press conference rant: "This was brought to me by a mother. Of children."
  • The denizens of The Imageboard That Must Not Be Named et al. have a catchphrase that goes "<Adjective> <Noun> is <Adjective>". Examples include "HUEG XBOX IS HUEG", and the Chanology's opinion on Mark Bunker: "Wise Beard Man is Wise, and his face is full of Beard".
    • The exact phrasing on the latter is closer to: "Wise Beard Man. His words are wise. His face is beard."
    • Obvious troll is obvious.
  • So, so much from the legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker, such as "With half the race gone, there is half the race still to go" and "It's raining and the track is wet".
    • '-of course, being out in front means you you have the whole track in front of you'; instantly, the car described went off the track and crashed.
  • There is a subdivision named The Shire of Hamlet Village.
  • The JavaScript error "'null' is null or not an object".
    • The GCC error "'long long long' is too long". (Though strictly speaking it's really three long.)
  • Every object in Java has a toString() method, which converts the object to a String[2]. Every object, including String itself. It's even lampshaded in the Java API.
  • The English word "sacrosanct" is itself an incarnation of this trope. The root "sacro" comes from the Latin word "sacrum", meaning sacred, and the root "sanctus" (the past participle of the Latin word "sanctire") means holy. Three guesses on what this adjective means in English.
  • Any street named El Camino Road
  • East Timor (an island country in Southeast Asia). Timor is a variant of "timur" Malay for "east". Timor is the island's name. The western half of the island belongs to Indonesia. East Timor is located... in the east.
  • The YAL-1, a terrifying aircraft equipped with a terrifying laser of terror, is being developed by Kirkland AFB's Directed Energy Directorate. Susan J. Thornton is the Director of the Directed Energy Directorate. It's all very direct. Yet this is actually an aversion since the DED is a Directorate, an agency headed by a director, which deals with Directed Energy, such as lasers, particle beams, and occasionally sonic weapons, and Mrs. Thornton is its director.
  • People who say things like "4 a.m. in the morning."
  • French singer Johnny Halliday during an interview at the Paris-Dakar rally said a very profound thing: "If we hadn't wasted an hour and fifteen minutes, we'd be here an hour and fifteen minutes earlier".
  • The phrase "rate of speed", when used to mean simply "speed". "Speed" means "rate of motion", so "rate of speed" means "rate of rate of motion", which would arguably be acceleration rather than speed but which is seldom used to mean acceleration. Like "from whence" below, this does not stop people from using such phrases as "The car took off at a high rate of speed" instead of simply "a high speed".
    • Well, if it's taking off and gets fast quickly, clearly it does have a large acceleration.
  • The phrase "Whys and wherefores"--"wherefore" means why.
    • Similarly: "For all intents and purposes".
    • Duplicate words are extremely common in law. One book on legal writing said that the practice originated in the days of Old English, when two words were used — one Anglo-Saxon, and one Latin.
  • The River Annan is named for a word in a now extinct Celtic language meaning "water", and "the River Water" is tautological enough. However, in culture (such as in songs by Kate Rusby and The Decemberists, and the webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court), the river is usually named "the Annan Waters", which of course means "the Water Waters".
  • Mae West: "I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it."
  • Similarly, from Oscar Wilde, "I can resist anything except temptation."
  • Back on the 8th of May 1945, newspapers were awfully excited about how it was VE Day in Europe. Victory in Europe Day in Europe.
  • "Assless chaps." All chaps are assless. Otherwise they'd just be leather pants.
    • If anything, the phrase simply refers to when chaps are worn with nothing underneath them, which is kind of like calling a beanie not worn with a visor a "bill-less hat".
  • This.
    • The fail there must be extended to the Spanish translation that has been given, the word is "campanillas" not "companillas".
  • DSW Shoe Warehouse = Designer Shoe Warehouse Shoe Warehouse
  • Actual for real restaurant where you can eat: "Roy's Place: A Restaurant"
  • "Self-similar" objects. Fractals are self-similar shapes that remain literally shaped like themselves (even if due to changing parameters on different parts it's not always obvious) infinitely. It's easy to find a fractal zoom video on YouTube.
    • Some natural shapes, such as coastlines, have fractal-like properties in a wide range of scale - the more it's zoomed in, the more nooks and crannies are added and greater its measurable length becomes.
  • The Earth used to be considered a sphere, then an ellipsoid. Now it's called a geoid, "uniquely Earth-shaped"... so the Earth is quite literally shaped like itself.
  • Recursive functions are defined in terms of themselves. Computer Science folk love to joke about this.

 recursion n.

If you don't get it, see recursion.

    • Google jokes about it, too. Search for recursion and see for yourself.

  Did you mean: recursion

    • If you already understand recursion, fine. If you don't, ask someone who's closer to Donald Knuth than you are.
  • People often refer to the NATO alliance, or, even worse, the NATO treaty. Yes, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization treaty.
    • The first one is acceptable, and could be considered more of a style issue or redundancy. The second one can refer to the actual document that created the Treaty Organization.
  • Common parodies of conspiracy theories call NBC News et al the "Mainstream MSM Media." Guess what MSM stands for?
  • This happens way too often in the computer world. Programmers are supposed to document their code's behavior, but all too often you see "widget.calculateFrob()" described as "This function calculates the frob value of the widget object."
    • It doesn't help that there are comment generators to produce exactly this type of useless comment.
  • Sensory Integration Disorder is sometimes called SID disorder to distinguish it from Sudden Infant Death, which is referred to as SID. This could be avoided if people used the more complete SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) - of course, they're rarely likely to be confused in context anyhow.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder also gets this treatment quite often, being referred to as OCD Disorder.
  • University College Dublin runs afoul of this. Their logo proclaims them to be University College Dublin Dublin.
  • When translating Finnish lakes and rivers into English, it's usually done by adding the word "lake" or "river" before or after the name. Thus we have "Lake Pyhäjärvi" (Lake Holy Lake) and "Kemijoki River" (Kemi river River) and countless others.
  • A People's Democratic Republic translates from Greek and Latin as a "People's people's rule of people's affairs."
  • This exchange in an interview with the pop duo Tears for Fears:

 Roland Orzobal: See, if I weren't married...

Curt Smith (interrupting): You'd be single.

Roland Orzobal: ....Yeah.

  • Tons of food with foreign origins are like this, due to no one knowing the translation for the foods name. For example:
    • Pizza pie (pizza coming from either piede or pitza, meaning... pie)
    • Not food, but the Head Chef of a restaurant... (Chef meaning Chief, the title actually being Chef de Cuisine, not Head Chief, which is like saying the Chief Chief)
      • Even funnier: 'chef' used to mean 'head' in Old French. So the Head Chef is the Head that is at the Head of the cuisine.
  • In propositional logic, a statement is a tautology if it evaluates to true for all possible Boolean inputs. The simplest form of this is "A or ¬A". In layman's terms, when there are only two options, everything is either one or the other.
  • Wittgenstein is a master of this even while he criticizes it. In the Investigations, he comments, "We might also say: 'Every thing fits into itself.' --Or again: 'Every thing fits into its own shape.' While saying this, one looks at a thing and imagines that there was a space left for it and that now it fits into it exactly." He goes so far as to smear a blob of ink on the page, saying, "Does this spot 'fit' into its white surrounding? --But that is just how it would look if there had at first been a hole in its place and it then fitted into the hole."
  • Several Bushisms fall into this, such as "More and more of our imports are coming from overseas", and "Its against the law to hire somebody illegally."
    • In the case of "imports" he was actually making a meaningful statement; the US is not, geographically speaking, Britain (which if you count Northern Ireland can import things from overseas within the domain of Great Britain). The States receive imports from Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America, none of which are overseas. Compare the growing industrial might of China. That's right. George W. Bush made a statement that was perfectly correct and in fact rather observant...and people called him dumb for it. That's practically Zen.
  • It is what it is.
  • In South Africa, a certain football commentator (whose name escapes me) is known for his stupid comments during matches. At the beginning of the final match of the 2008 PSL (a South African Football League) season, for example: "What a great season this has been, 43 goals scored, and would-you-believe-it, 43 conceded", and (in reference to Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Manchester United a few years ago "[Unremembered sum of money]! For that kind of money, I'd play for free!".
  • A World War Two era German map labeled a lake in Finnish Lapland as "Jaurujärviozero-See". The joke here is that "See" means "lake" in German, "ozero" means "lake" in Russian, "järvi" means "lake" in Finnish, and "jauru" means "lake" in Sami, the language of the indigenous peoples of that area. In other words, on the map, it's titled "Lakelakelake-lake".
  • Most U.S. coins list their value in cents, but the dime's value is said to be "one dime."
  • Pluto is now classified as a "Plutoid" and a "Plutino."
  • Oddly, the Darwin-inspired platitude Survival Of The Fittest (coined by Herbert Spencer rather than Charles Darwin) is an example. "Fittest" simply means "most likely to survive".
  • The common programming idiom "Trope trope = new Trope();" This roughly translates to "Create an object using the Trope constructor. We will treat it as a Trope and call it 'trope'." (The first instance is not just idiomatic but necessary in most languages (those without type inference). The second can be avoided through better variable naming, but is often required by simple-minded workplace policies.
  • Happens all the time in the Canadian Arctic when terrain features are officially designated by their traditional local Inuit name, but mapmakers sometimes then append the English term for the feature to the Inuktitut. Leading, inevitably, to things that come out as "Big Hill Hill", "Small Island Island", "Big Island in the Lake Island", and "Small River River".
  • Ever hear of UMUC? It's the University of Maryland University College, a distance-learning
  • The word "almond" is derived from the ancient Greek world amygdala, which means "almond-shaped."
    • And then in the brain there are almond-shaped sections involved in processing and memory recall of emotional moments called...the amygdalae (singular amygdala)
  • In the United States at least, companies are required to put allergy warnings on products for the most common allergens. This happens even if the allergen is the only item in the product. For example, on a can of nuts, it's still necessary to put the warning "May Contain Nuts" on it. To doubtless paraphrase many a comedian, we sure hope so.
  • The fact that natural drugs are often named after unnatural ones, and possibly the fact that drugs produced in the body are named after drugs produced in plants (because the plants evolved to take advantage of our receptors.)
  • The Fumble Rule "Eschew obfuscation, espouse elucidation." is redundant (as well as breaking itself). This rule has been around for a long time and is quite old.
  • Some place names in Japan when subtitled in English can become this, like for instance, Kandagawa River (-(k)gawa itself meaning river), or Dogen-zaka slope (take a guess what the -zaka means).
  • "It tastes like itself" is justified in the cases of some foods that really don't have a flavor that can be compared to anything else. Ask someone what an avocado tastes like, and you'll probably get "It tastes like an avocado." (The rest will tell you that it's a creamy, buttery taste, since it can be used as a healthier substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches.)
  • In a May 2011 Issue of the Newspaper called The Metro, the subtitle of an article reads, "Larger earthquake 250km from Madrid preceded by smaller one".
  • Saying "Hi, it's me" over the phone.
  • A literal and graphic example: a flock of flamingos get together and form a ...guess what.
  • Some people hear the Japanese refer to Mt. Fuji as "Fujiyama", and decide to call it "Mt. Fujiyama". "Yama" is Japanese for "Mountain".
  • And here's comedian Andy Dick demonstrating this trope in more ways than one.
  • A linguistic example is "the gostak distims the doshes," used to demonstrate how meaning can be arrived at using the syntax of a sentence. The words are nonsense, but logic goes that a gostak must be something that distims the doshes, while distimming is what the gostak does to the doshes and the doshes are what the gostak distims.
  • The word "lagomorph" is a classification that includes rabbits, hares and pikas. The Greek root words for this term essentially mean "hare-shaped".
  • In Nevada, there is a big mountain named Big Mountain.
  • Kereyid ruler Togoril, also referred to with an unofficial title of "Vang Khan". Which is more or less a bilingual equivalent of "King King".

Wikis That Everybody Can Edit

  • TV Tropes, when a pothole is found in a page and leads to the same page.
    • There are also several times where a pothole is just the trope name, except with the caps removed, ex: Suspect Is Hatless.
    • YKTTW entries as well, such as "Gesturing with a Weapon: Somebody gestures at people with a weapon".
  • That Other Wiki's disambiguation page for "Japanese" helpfully provides a link to "Japanese language, a Japonic language spoken mainly in Japan." The same template probably appears for many multi-purpose demonym-national adjective-language name words, but would be at least marginally more informative when not concerning a language isolate.
    • Japanese is considered to be a language isolate, because we're told it is... by the Japanese. The fact is, many linguists find convincing evidence that the Japanese language is related to Korean. There is genetic and archeological evidence also consistent with an ancient link between the Japanese and ancestors of the Koreans. In addition, outside Japan, the languages of the Ryukyu Islands are considered separate from but related to Japanese, although at times the government has called them dialects for political reasons.
    • Classifying Japonic is complex. The Altaic languages are a controversial proposed family containing Mongolian, Tungusic, Turkic, and sometimes Japonic and Korean.
  1. And sexy turtles.
  2. A string is a sequence of characters; usually letters, numbers, and symbols