REDUNDANT: “exceeding what is necessary or normal: superfluous” — Merriam-Webster Online | June 18, 2010: So now you’re abandoned and redundant, wondering whether it’s OK to go see the latest Pixar without a youngster in hand. Yes, it’s OK; you owe it to yourself.

Are you redundant if your children are grown? No, even if you’re the nanny. Redundant is perched on the precipice of sliding into lexicide, helped along by the British, for whom redundant is official-speak for no longer needed (read: unemployed). But that is not what redundant means. Something that is redundant is serving the same function as something else. Far from being useless, redundancies in safety precautions, risk management and data centers are very necessary. Redundancies in writing, on the other hand…

My search of underscores how vital it is we use our words correctly and not scoff, as so many do, at shifts in meaning. Case in point — the only reason the word wasn’t more abused this past month was the prevalence of BP officials touting the redundancies they had in place. They probably thought redundancies were “useless” too, and shut them all down.

Otto E. Mezzo


Repetitious and Redundant

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