Elegant variation  

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Elegant variation is a phrase coined by Henry Watson Fowler referring to the unnecessary use of synonyms to denote a single thing. In A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926) he says:

It is the second-rate writers, those intent rather on expressing themselves prettily than on conveying their meaning clearly, & still more those whose notions of style are based on a few misleading rules of thumb, that are chiefly open to the allurements of elegant variation.... The fatal influence... is the advice given to young writers never to use the same word twice in a sentence — or within 20 lines or other limit.

In the 1920s, when Fowler coined the term "elegant variation", the word elegant had a since-lost pejorative connotation of “precious over-refinement”. In The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style, Bryan Garner unambiguously recast the term as "inelegant variation".

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