Printable Version
Pronunciation: pe-ri-sah-lê-ji Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Verbosity, verbal superfluity, long-windedness. 2. Pleonasm, use of too many words to describe a point or subject, as 'to see with your own eyes'.

Notes: The difference between perissology and battology is that the latter refers to the tiresome repetition in speaking or writing. The adjective is perissological and a person who speaks superfluously would be a perissologist, if such a word is ever used.

In Play: One nuance of this word is the use of too many words to describe a subject: "The speaker favored perissology and the avoidance of familiar words." The other implication of perissology is simply too many words: "Myna Bird is not only talkative, her speech erupts in such a perissology that is beyond belief."

Word History: Today's Good Word is yet another borrowing from French, this time prissologie, which French inherited from Late Latin perissologia "use of more words than are necessary". Latin sneaked its word away from Ancient Greek perissologia. The Greek word is the noun for the adjective perissologos "speaking too much". combining perissos "redundant" + logos "word, idea, speech". How perissos came to be in Ancient Greek is anyone's guess. Logos is an old friend, found in a long, open-ended series of borrowings from Greek, like biology, geology, etc. It comes from the PIE word leg-/log- "to gather", which ended up meaning "law" and "word, idea" in Indo-European languages, as seen in the Latinate borrowings legislature and loquacious. (Now let's all imagine shaking Ben Travato's hand for recommending today's useful if seldom used Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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