obviate the need for

In 2006, I asked Merriam-Webster the following question. Associate Editor, Jennifer N. Cislo, replied as follows.

Q: In June, former Time Inc. editor in chief Norman Pearlstine told CNN, “By turning over this information, we obviate the need for Matt to even testify.” In reporting the interview, the Washington Post wrote, “Pearlstine said he believes the documents will ‘obviate the need’ for any testimony from Cooper.”

But if “obviate” means to “make unnecessary,” isn’t “obviate the need for” redundant?

Perhaps many people are unfamiliar with “obviate,” so pairing it with “need” clarifies its meaning?

A: The phrase “obviate the need for” is idiomatic and in common use.

1 comment:

  1. So you're saying that misuse through ignorance along the lines of "PIN number" (Personal Identification Number number) makes it right?