Posted by James Briggs on October 04, 2003
In Reply to: "Close proximity" posted by masakim on October 03, 2003
: : : : : In the US we often hear "close proximity". The media and other reports attempting to appear serious often use "close proximity". It appears to mean close or near. Questions: are the two words together a bit redundant? Is this just a US thing? Does one ever recall hearing "distant proximity" or "intermediate proximity"?
: : : : I believe "nearby" would be a better choice of words. From these Merriam Webster entries, it looks like you're right about redundancy:
: : : : Main Entry: prox·im·i·ty
: : : : Pronunciation: präk-'si-m&-tE
: : : : Function: noun
: : : : Etymology: Middle French proximité, from Latin proximitat-, proximitas, from proximus
: : : : Date: 15th century
: : : : : the quality or state of being proximate : CLOSENESS
: : : : Main Entry: prox·i·mate
: : : : Pronunciation: 'präk-s&-m&t
: : : : Function: adjective
: : : : Etymology: Latin proximatus, past participle of proximare to approach, from proximus nearest, next, superlative of prope near -- more at APPROACH
: : : : Date: 1661
: : : : 1 : immediately preceding or following (as in a chain of events, causes, or effects)
: : : : 2 a : very near : CLOSE b : soon forthcoming : IMMINENT
: : : "Usually the extra word is redundant, or such compound expressions can be replaced by single words, as shown in italics in the following examples:
: : : in close proximity to ? near..." http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/ess/pubs/guide/gramm/jargon_e.html
: : Is the widespread use of the redundant word just a US thing?
: It was used by a British playwright, librettist and liricist:
: But then the prospect of a lot / Of dull M.P.'s in close proximity, / All thinking for themselves, is what / No man can face with equanimity. (W.S. Gilbert, _Iolanthe_, 1882)
: _Webster's Dictionary of English Usage_ explains "Of course there are degrees of proximity, and _colse proximity_ simply emphasizes the closeness" and gives a few examples:
: "in very close proximity" (Ken Druse, _N.Y. Times Mag._, 22 June 1980)
: "in closer proximity" (Jane Nickerson, _N.Y. Times Mag._, 27 June 1954)
: "in the closest proximity to" (Richard Jefferies, _The Open Air_, 1885)
: "into close proximity" (Bell Telephone Laboratories, _The Formation of Ferromagnetic Domains_, 1959)
Redundant words are, sadly, pretty common in the UK. Some that spring immediately to mind are;
A free gift
A skin rash - you can't have a rash other than on your skin!
A dead body
I bet there are dozens of others!!