We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is RAS Syndrome?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Feb 05, 2024
Our promise to you
LanguageHumanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At LanguageHumanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

RAS Syndrome refers to the unnecessary redundancy of certain acronyms. The acronym "RAS" stands for Redundant Acronym Syndrome, so the term "RAS Syndrome" incorporates the linguistically odd use of an acronym that is followed by one of the words that it shortens, which is exactly what the term describes. In essence, "RAS Syndrome" means Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome. An example of a term that suffers from RAS Syndrome is "PIN number," which essentially means Personal Identification Number number.

This concept was first explained by New Scientist magazine in 2001. Acronyms are supposed to shorten a phrase for ease of use, but people occasionally add words to acronym for common parlance. The syndrome occurs when the word that is added on is one of the words that the acronym was supposed to shorten in the first place, as in RAS Syndrome or PIN number.

Other occurrences of RAS Syndrome in the English language include common references to automated teller machines as "ATM machines," alternating current as "AC current," direct current as "DC current" and individual retirement accounts as "IRA accounts." In each case, the word that is added to the acronym is also represented by the last letter in the acronym. In some cases, more than one words might be added despite their first letters being in the acronym already. One example is an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, which is often called an "EPIRB rescue beacon."

Sometimes, the speaker of a RAS Syndrome phrase is unaware that he or she is using a verbal redundancy to describe something, because he or she might not know the words that the acronym represents. Although RAS Syndrome redundancies would sound wrong when they are spelled out in their entirety, many of them sound right when they are in acronym form. The redundancies might be present to make the acronym more representative of the description, because few acronyms make it obvious what they represent.

RAS Syndrome describes only some of the verbal redundancies present in the English language. Rhetorical tautologies, for example, use two words in a sentence to say the same thing. Some examples are "safe haven," because a haven intrinsically implies safety, or "previous experience," because experience, by definition, is in the past.

LanguageHumanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

LanguageHumanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

LanguageHumanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.