In dictionary examples for 多彩な there is a sentence:

There was a great variety of dishes on the menu.

Isn't いろいろ多彩な a tautology? Do いろいろ and 多彩 convey a different meaning? Is there a difference between the above sentence and the following?



Is it an emphasis of some sort, or just a quirk in the body of examples?

  • I personally find it awkward composition.
    – user4092
    Aug 6, 2017 at 0:47
  • 3
    「多彩な料理」と聞いて、「色彩に富んだ料理」"multicolored dishes" とは思いませんね・・やっぱり「種類が多くて変化に富んだ料理」のことだろうなと思います
    – chocolate
    Aug 6, 2017 at 2:32

2 Answers 2


いろいろ is used to express the meaning "various". So 色々【いろいろ】多彩【たさい】 sounds like it emphasizes that there was a great variety (not just some variety) to me.

That being said, I don't think any language (Japanese included) puts restrictions on using tautologies or being redundant with adjective choice and such. This particular construction (色々【いろいろ】多彩【たさい】) may be a collocation (things that often come together) to some extent. (A Google search for those terms together gave me ~2.4k results).

In English, similar things are sometimes done. For example:

  • free gift
  • closed fist
  • overused cliché
  • tautology = the saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g. they arrived one after the other in succession ).
    – macraf
    Aug 5, 2017 at 23:35
  • I was thinking of "tautology" in the narrow context of formal logic, "a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form"; makes more sense now that I see this usage
    – haksayng
    Aug 5, 2017 at 23:41
  • I used this word, and I used it in the sense I gave you above (which was obvious to me because it is a language Q&A site). So kindly please accept it if you try to answer the question, not interpret it in your own ways.
    – macraf
    Aug 5, 2017 at 23:42
  • Yeah, you're right; changed it. Not trying to cause trouble, just never heard anyone use it that way before – my bad!
    – haksayng
    Aug 5, 2017 at 23:50
  • 1
    This is also my first time hearing tautology used this way. I've always thought of it as a logic thing, thanks to that one XKCD comic.
    – syockit
    Aug 6, 2017 at 11:49

Tautology is an unnecessary repeating of the same idea in different words, as in the sentence He sat alone by himself. In this case, I agree with the explanation that alone is redundant.

However, depending on the case, I think it is not always redundant to repeat the same idea in different words. It occurs when words such as adjectives of the language are insufficient to fully express the situation or emotion. I think this is a phenomenon that occurs not only in English and Japanese but also in any language.

"色々{いろいろ}な果物{くだもの} various fruits" or "多彩{たさい}な果物{くだもの} variegated/colorful fruits" is sufficient to express the above picture, but how do you tell the picture below to him who is supporting you? You would realize soon that adjectives such as "色々{いろいろ}な" or "多彩{たさい}な" alone are insufficient to convey your excitement to him.

enter image description here

  • I still would appreciate a reference to メニューには多彩な料理があった。 example. Is it the same as いろいろな on the top image?
    – macraf
    Aug 6, 2017 at 23:43
  • @macraf: I think "メニューには多彩な料理があった" is better than "メニューにはいろいろな料理があった", because "彩" is read as "いろどり" in kunyomi which means coloring. Of course the latter is good. We Japanese love the color along with the taste of dishes. As for tautology, the both expressions are better than saying "メニューにはいろいろ多彩な料理があった" for the ordinary menu having many dishes such the degree as the top image.
    – user20624
    Aug 7, 2017 at 0:35
  • @macraf: Though I commented "彩" means coloring, 多彩 in this usage does not necessarily mean coloful dishes, but at least the existance and the sound of "彩" makes me image bright color or something like that along with expressing "various".
    – user20624
    Aug 7, 2017 at 0:50

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