What does "in and of..." mean in the sentence below?

While resource scarcity in and of itself is not considered a major factor in igniting conflict...

How is it different if I just change it to "of" only?

While resource scarcity of itself is not considered a major factor in igniting conflict.

What should I call this grouping of words ("in and of")? Are there anymore words that are used similarly?

  • The idiomatic in and of itself is really just meaningless tautology, similar to in no way, shape, or form. You can quite reasonably discard in and of completely, or just keep in or of (or replace with by). None of this changes the meaning (even the word itself contributes nothing apart from emphasis here). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 23 '14 at 16:30

In itself and of itself are loan translations from Latin in se and per se. In the fields of philosophy and law these have very precise technical meanings, and the combined phrase in and of itself should be left unmodified when used by an expert speaking of matters in those fields.

In any other context, in and of itself is a stock phrase adopted probably from legal discourse. It can be reduced to one or the other:

  • in itself, meaning “by its own nature, inherently” ... English grammar is not in itself boring, it is only made to appear so by teachers.

  • of itself, meaning “through its own operation, by its own effort” ... An English verbform usually cannot of itself fix relationships in time; it must be interpreted by the context in which it appears.

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Basically, in and of itself means by itself.

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