The Meaning of Redundant: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of redundant? This guide will provide you with all of the info you need on the word redundant, including its definition, etymology, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word redundant mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, and other dictionary apps, the word redundant, pronounced “rɪˈdʌndənt”  is an adjective that means superfluous, containing excess, exceeding what is normal, or profuse. British people also use the term redundant to mean laid off or unemployed. The word redundant is often used in reference to unneeded additional verbiage or material. For example, if someone describes a person as “a beautiful, pretty, gorgeous woman,” this would be considered redundant. They are using more than one adjective that means the same thing to describe the woman when using just one of them would suffice. People often use redundancy when they feel they are running out of things to say. In an essay or written work, redundancy can bore a reader or alert them to the fact that the author does not have much to say and is trying to fill time. Try to avoid redundancy in your writing and speech. 

According to Word Sense, the word redundant is also present in numerous other languages. In some romance languages, you will see that the word meaning redundant is a cognate to, or is very similar to, the English word redundant. This is because the word redundant is of Latin origin and the romance languages are also of Latin origin.

  • Danish: overflødig‎
  • Greek: πλεονάζων‎, παραπανίσιος‎, υπεράριθμος‎ (masc.), περισσός‎ (masc.)
  • Cyrillic: су̏вӣшан‎, и̏злишан‎, редунда̀нтан‎
  • Turkish: ihtiyaçtan fazla‎, fazla‎, gereğinden fazla‎, lüzumundan fazla‎, yedek‎
  • French: redondant‎
  • Georgian: ზედმეტი‎, ნამეტი‎, გადამეტებული‎, ჭარბი‎
  • Manchu: ᠯᠠᠮᡦᠠ‎ (lampa)
  • Catalan: redundant‎
  • Roman: sȕvīšan‎, ȉzlišan‎, redundàntan‎, zalihosan‎
  • German: überflüssig‎
  • Armenian: ավելորդ‎
  • Dutch: overbodig‎, overtollig‎, achterhaald‎
  • Czech: nadbytečný‎
  • Swedish: överflödig‎
  • Italian: ridondante‎ (fem.), iperverboso‎, copioso‎, sovrabbondante‎, pleonastico‎
  • Spanish: superfluo‎, redundante‎
  • Chinese – Mandarin: 冗杂‎ (rǒngzá), 冗余‎ (rǒngyú)
  • Russian: изли́шний‎
  • Irish: iomarcach‎
  • Polish: nadmiarowy‎ (masc.), nadmierny‎ (masc.)
  • Hungarian: felesleges‎
  • Norwegian: overflødig‎
  • Portuguese: redundante‎

How can the word redundant be used in a sentence?

The word redundant can be used in a variety of different circumstances to describe things that are superfluous or existing in excess. In this first example, Joe’s boss Heather is reviewing his technology reports that he has just turned in for her review. 

Heather: Joe, can you come in here for a monet? I’m reading your report now. 

Joe: Sure! What’s up?

Heather: Joe, while these are very thorough, they’re full of redundant information. We are trying to run an efficient operation, so the techs need to be able to decipher information from these quickly. I appreciate how thorough you were, but for the next ones, I would like you to try and be more concise.

Joe: Got it!

Here, Heather tells Joe that he needs to dial it back on the lengthiness of his technical documents because they are far too wordy and redundant, and therefore hard for a tech to read when they need information quickly. In this next example, Madison’s English teacher Ms. Morris is talking to her about her most recent paper. 

Ms. Morris: Madison, I would like to speak with you about your paper.

Madison: Is there a problem?

Ms. Morris: This paper is full of redundancies. Every single paragraph talks about the same thing. You just barely hit the page count, and you repeat yourself constantly. What happened?

Madison: I think I picked a topic that was too niche. I really struggled to find information about the topic that I chose.

What is the origin of the word redundant?

According to Etymonline, the word redundant has been in modern usage since the 1590s. This word comes from the Latin redundantem, which is the nominative form of the Latin word redundans. This is the present participle of redundāre, which literally translates to overflowing or to be over full. This term is used figuratively to mean to be in excess. This comes from the previd re-, meaning again and the root word undare meaning to rise in waves. This comes from the word unda, meaning a wave, from the Proto-Indo-European root unda, which is a form of the root wed, meaning water or wet. British people have used this term in relation to people and employment since 1928. Related words include the adverb redundantly, the nouns redundancy and redundancy and the term redound.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word redundant?

There are many different words and phrases that mean the same thing as the word redundant. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning or definition as another word or phrase. It is useful to know synonyms in order to expand your vocabulary and to avoid repeating yourself, and to therefore avoid being redundant! This list of synonyms for the word redundant is provided by Thesaurus

  • unwanted
  • supernumerary
  • extra
  • inordinate
  • spare
  • oratorical
  • padded
  • repetitious
  • superfluous
  • reiterating
  • iterating
  • loquacious
  • inessential
  • de trop
  • diffuse
  • unnecessary
  • bombastic
  • wordy
  • excessive
  • periphrastic
  • prolix
  • surplus
  • verbose
  • supererogatory
  • pleonastic
  • tautological
  • palaverous
  • long-winded
  • extravagant

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word redundant. These are known as antonyms. Antonyms are very useful to know if you want to broaden your knowledge of the English language and expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word redundant is also provided by Thesaurus

  • wanted
  • required
  • paramount
  • pressing
  • unavoidable
  • essential
  • bottom-line
  • needed
  • compulsory
  • incumbent on
  • imperative
  • specified
  • binding
  • requisite
  • exigent
  • principal
  • all-important
  • name of game
  • obligatory
  • fundamental
  • urgent
  • basic
  • significant
  • prerequisite
  • compelling
  • quintessential
  • indispensable
  • momentous
  • chief
  • needful
  • expedient
  • de rigueur
  • cardinal
  • elementary
  • prime
  • vital
  • crucial
  • mandatory
  • necessary
  • decisive

Overall, the word redundant