"redundancy in words," 1580s, from Late Latin pleonasmus, from Greek pleonasmos, from pleonazein "to be more than enough, to be superfluous," in grammatical use, "to add superfluously," from combining form of pleon "more" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill"). Not necessarily a flaw in rhetoric and sometimes used effectively for emphasis. As Fowler writes, "The writer who uses [pleonasm] in that way must be judged by whether he does produce his effect & whether the occasion is worthy of it."
The first surplusage the Greekes call Pleonasmus, I call him [too full speech] and is no great fault, as if one should say, I heard it with mine eares, and saw it with mine eyes, as if a man could heare with his heeles, or see with his nose. We our selues ysed this superfluous speech in a verse written of our mistresse, neuertheles, not much to be misliked, for euen a vice sometime being seasonably vsed, hath a pretie grace. [George Puttenham, "The Arte of English Poesie, 1589]
1890s, of unknown origin, according to OED, first found in British newspaper police-court reports in the summer of 1898, almost certainly from the variant form of the Irish surname Houlihan, which figured as a characteristic comic Irish name in music hall songs and newspapers of the 1880s and '90s.
As an "inventor" and adapter to general purposes of the tools used by navvies and hodmen, "Hooligan" is an Irish character who occupies week by week the front of a comic literary journal called Nuggets, one of the series of papers published by Mr. James Henderson at Red Lion House. Previous to publication in London, "Hooligan" appears, I believe, in New York in a comic weekly, and in London he is set off against "Schneider," a German, whose contrainventions and adaptations appear in the Garland (a very similar paper to Nuggets), which also comes from Mr. Henderson's office. "Hooligan" and "Schneider" have been running, I should think, for four or five years. [Notes and Queries, Oct. 15, 1898]
Internationalized 20c. in communist rhetoric as Russian khuligan, opprobrium for "scofflaws, political dissenters, etc."
in rhetoric, "the use of words similar in sound but different in sense; use of the same word in different senses;" more or less, but not quite, "punning;" 1570s, from Latin, from Greek paronomasia "play upon words which sound similarly," from paronomazein "to alter slightly, to call with slight change of name," literally "to name beside," from par- (see para- (1)) + onomasia "naming," from onoma "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). Related: Paranomastic; paranomastical.
Pun and paronomasia are often confounded, but are in strictness distinct in form and effect. A pun is a play upon two senses of the same word or sound, and its effect is to excite a sense of the ludicrous .... Paronomasia is rather the use of words that are nearly but not quite alike in sound, and it heightens the effect of what is said without suggesting the ludicrous: as, "Per angusta ad augusta" ; "And catch with his surcease success," Shak., Macbeth, i. 7. 4. ... As in these examples, it is most likely to be used where the words thus near in sound are far apart in meaning. [Century Dictionary]
1702; plural of humanity (n.), which had been used in English from late 15c. in a sense "class of studies concerned with human culture" (opposed variously and at different times to divinity or sciences). Latin literae humaniores, the "more human studies" (literally "letters") are fondly believed to have been so called because they were those branches of literature (ancient classics, rhetoric, poetry) which tended to humanize or refine by their influence, but the distinction was rather of secular topics as opposed to divine ones (literae divinae).
From the late Middle Ages, the singular word humanity served to distinguish classical studies from natural sciences on one side and sacred studies (divinity) on the other side. ... The term's modern career is not well charted. But by the eighteenth century humanity in its academic sense seems to have fallen out of widespread use, except in Scottish universities (where it meant the study of Latin). Its revival as a plural in the course of the following century apparently arose from a need for a label for the multiple new 'liberal studies' or 'culture studies' entering university curricula. [James Turner, "Philology," 2014]
c. 1500, "without speech, silent, not speaking," from Latin silentem (nominative silens) "still, calm, quiet," present participle of silere "be quiet or still" (see silence (n.)). Meaning "free from noise or sound" is from 1580s.
Of letters, c. 1600; of films, 1914. In the looser sense "of few words," from 1840. Phrase strong, silent (type) is attested from 1905. Silent majority in the political sense of "mass of people whose moderate views are not publicly expressed and thus overlooked" is first attested 1955 in a British context and was used by John F. Kennedy but is most associated in U.S. with the rhetoric of the Nixon administration (1969-74).
It is time for America's silent majority to stand up for its rights, and let us remember the American majority includes every minority. America's silent majority is bewildered by irrational protest. [Spiro T. Agnew, May 9, 1969]
In Victorian use, the phrase meant "the dead" (1874; compare Roman use of the noun plural of "silent" to mean "the dead"). Silence is golden (1831) is Carlyle's translation ["Sartor Resartus"] of part of the "Swiss Inscription" Sprechen ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden. In one 14c. text Latin "one who is silent" is translated by a beere stille.
1570s, "cotton padding," corrupted from earlier bombace "raw cotton" (1550s), from Old French bombace "cotton, cotton wadding," from Late Latin bombacem, accusative of bombax "cotton, 'linteorum aut aliae quaevis quisquiliae,' " a corruption and transferred use of Latin bombyx "silk," from Greek bombyx "silk, silkworm" (which also came to mean "cotton" in Medieval Greek), from some oriental word, perhaps related to Iranian pambak (modern panba) or Armenian bambok, perhaps ultimately from a PIE root meaning "to twist, wind."
Also from the same source are Swedish bomull, Danish bomuld "cotton," and, via Turkish forms, Modern Greek mpampaki, Rumanian bumbac, Serbo-Croatian pamuk. German baumwolle "cotton" probably is from the Latin word but altered by folk-etymology to look like "tree wool." Polish bawełna, Lithuanian bovelna are partial translations from German.
From stuffing and padding for clothes or upholstery, meaning extended to "pompous, empty speech" (1580s).
Bombast was originally applied to a stuff of soft, loose texture, once used to swell the garment. Fustian was also a kind of cloth of stiff expansive character. These terms are applied to a high, swelling style of writing, full of extravagant sentiments and expressions. Bathos is a word which has the same application, meaning generally the mock heroic—that "depth" into which one falls who overleaps the sublime; the step which one makes in order to pass from the sublime to the ridiculous. [James de Mille, "Elements of Rhetoric," 1878]