“That’s tautology,” he said.
And that terse statement finished their argument.
I came across this dialogue in Elizabeth George’s “In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner”. It’s one of the beloved Lynley series that I somehow missed, and am reading now. Not familiar with the 8th Earl of Asherton, a.k.a., Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley. Well that’s just a crime. Anyway…tautology? Never heard of it. A quick web search told me it means saying the same thing twice in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style. Well there you go. Only Thomas Lynley would criticize his new bride, Helen, with such a word. Some useful examples can be found here, such as, “One after the other in succession.” Apparently, according to Wolfram.com (seriously? wasn’t that the name of a fake law firm in the Joss Whedon classic, Angel?), tautology is also a mathematical term meaning “a logical statement in which the conclusion is equivalent to the premise”. I think I prefer the one to do with redundancy of speech, and that bit about it being a fault of style. Then again, I was always better at English than math.