According to jisho.org, [大]{おお}[勢]{ぜい} means 'crowd of people; great number of people​'. Yet I have seen '大勢の人' several times: is it redundant?


No, it's not redundant. (Neither is 大勢の人々, for that matter.) While 大勢 means a crowd, generally of the human variety, it usually appears as a modifier rather than on its own. It can modify more specific nouns than just 人, too. So you can have a large family (大勢の家族) or a mob of visitors (大勢の客). It also works with group nouns (like 大勢の集まり) and modified nouns (like 大勢の美しい女性たち). You can even use it modify things that stand in for people, like a number of voices (大勢の声) or eyes (大勢の目).

(And when I was checking alc.co.jp for any references to non-humans, I came across the rather disturbing example of "大勢の殺された赤ん坊たち" or "a heap of murdered babies." Hopefully that one was pulled from fiction.)

  • Plainly, 大勢の客 is not redundant since 大勢 and 客 each brings new information. But in 大勢の人, 大勢 already has the information 'people' (unlike たくさん or 多い), so what does 人 add? – Mathieu Bouville Mar 24 '19 at 10:20
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    @MathieuBouville Crowds of people lined the streets. Is 'people' redundant? Yes, but language wasn't designed by scientists. – user3856370 Mar 24 '19 at 10:26
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    Except that you don't know if the crowd is of the general sort (人) or a more limited sort (殺された赤ん坊たち) until it's specified. – A. Noyd Mar 24 '19 at 11:04

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