What is a cliche?

“The reason that clichés become clichés is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication.”

― Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!

a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.
“the old cliché “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” (Google Dictionary)

What are cliche’s? Turns of phrase rubbed smooth by use? Bon mots that become mal odorous with time? Over used shorthands? One interesting thing is that slang either fades away or degenerates into cliche, in a way that jargon does not–jargon is just superceded.

Boil, boil….what is this I see before me? Alas, poor Yorik, hoist by his own petard. Shakespeare generated so many cliche’s because he wrote so many ringing phrases–sticking phrases, words that resonated and stayed with you, showing an image that was so useful everyone used it. The modes and phrases of Gothic Horror are embodied in Bulwer Lytton’s writing. It was a Dark and Stormy night–but as Gothic horror, it was so strong!

So, what are your favorite–and most feared–cliches?

– John Schmidt

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