Redundant vs Repetitive

Redundant does not mean repetitive. People sometimes get confused because the ‘re’ in redundant suggests repetition. In fact, the word has a totally unrelated meaning. Redundant means unnecessary or superfluous.

Many parts became redundant when we converted to the new equipment.

The word can also be used to refer to components in a system placed there as back-up equipment.

The shuttle’s auxiliary power unit has built-in redundancy to protect the crew in the event of failure.

Further, when something is repetitive it is redundant. But just because something is redundant does not mean it is repetitive. Get it?

(UPDATE: See the comment below and my reply. My point of this post was to distinguish between the two terms. I see Mary’s point, though, and accept that other examples may exist.)

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6 thoughts on “Redundant vs Repetitive”

  1. John,

    “Redundant” means ‘unnecessary’, ‘inessential’, ‘surplus’ and more.

    If an action is redundant — meaning, unnecessary — it could be a repetitive act. But not necessarily.

    On the other hand, a repetitive act — the subsequent act — might be redundant (unnecessary). It depends on the context.

    Understand that they are two distinct words. Each has its own unique meaning. And, therefore, usage.

    I appreciate your visit and comment.

    – Tom

  2. Interesting thought, Mary. In that case, the extra ‘yeahs’ are needed. I imagine there are other examples outside of the creative field. I see your point. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Actually, something that is repetitive is not necessarily redundant. If you take a famous lyric for example – “She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah…” – it’s repetitive but not redundant. It just wouldn’t work with one “yeah.” 🙂

  4. I’m glad to see that my posts are helpful to you. My user name on Twitter is @TomFuszard. I use a plugin that tweets old posts, so you’ll see several listed each day.

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