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Perissologia

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Perissologia

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Perissologia is the excessive use of words.

Example

My dearest sir, it is a delight to see you in such stirling and excellent health. Never, I say, have I set eyes on such a fine specimen of man who sets my mind a-dancing with pleasure. (= hello)

Would that I could sing my heart, the birds and bees would faint with the sounds of such ecstasy that burns my very soul in sacred flame! (= I'm happy)

Discussion

Sometimes you can go too far. Where a certain amount of delightful wordplay can spice up the language, there is level beyond which listeners get confused, bored or irritated. Or all three.

The net result is that meaning may be lost or distorted.

Perissologia can stem from anxiety, resulting in people who do not know when to stop. It can also be used by people who like the sound of their own voice or who do not want to listen to others. It can in this way be used for filibustering (talking to use up available time and so block other people).

Perissologia includes stating the obvious and use of redundancy where brevity suits best. It can also happen when a person says something, then wonders if their audience understands and decides to explain in excruciating detail. 

Perissologia is also known as prolixity, verbosity and garrulousness. It has also been called, rather vulgarly, 'verbal diarrhoea'.

Classification: Grammar, Distortion, Hidden

See also

The Need to Explain

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