A cliché or cliche (pronounced UK: /ˈkliːʃeɪ/, US: /klɪˈʃeɪ/) is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, rendering it a stereotype, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning, referring to any expression imposed by conventionalized linguistic usage. The term is frequently used in modern culture for an action or idea which is expected or predictable, based on a prior event. Typically a pejorative, "clichés" are not always false or inaccurate; a cliché may or may not be true. Some are stereotypes, but some are simply truisms and facts. Clichés are often employed for comic effect, typically in fiction.
Most phrases now considered clichéd were originally regarded as striking, but lost their force through overuse. In this connection, David Mason and John Frederick Nims cite a particularly harsh judgement by Salvador Dalí: "The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot."
A cliché is often a vivid depiction of an abstraction that relies upon analogy or exaggeration for effect, often drawn from everyday experience. Used sparingly, they may succeed. However, cliché in writing or speech is generally considered a mark of inexperience or unoriginality.
The word is borrowed from French. In printing, a cliché was a printing plate cast from movable type. This is also called a stereotype. When letters were set one at a time, it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly as a single slug of metal. "Cliché" came to mean such a ready-made phrase. The French word “cliché” is said to come from the sound made when the matrix is dropped into molten metal to make a printing plate, though some authorities express doubt.
Cliché is a noun that is also used as an adjective, although some dictionaries do not recognize the adjective sense. All dictionaries consulted recognize a derived adjective with the same meaning, clichéd or cliché'd.
- Bromide (language)
- Stock character
- Figure of speech
- Thought-terminating cliché
- ^ Ten Cliches That Actually Ring True - 09/16/2008 - by DearSugar
- ^ Short Story Library Thick skin and writing, cliché, but true - Published By Casey Quinn • May 10th, 2009 • Category: Casey's Corner
- ^ The Free Dictionary - Cliche
- ^ Mason, David; Nims, John Frederick (1999). Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry. McGraw-Hill. pp. 126–127. ISBN 0-07-303180-1.
- ^ Dalí, Salvador (1968). "Preface". In Pierre Cabanne. Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp (1987 ed.). Da Capo Press. p. 13. ISBN 0306803038.
- ^ "The Museum of Printing: Collection". The Museum of Printing. http://www.museumofprinting.org/Collection.html. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
- ^ a b c "cliche". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. n.d. http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/cliche. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- ^ a b c "cliché". Dictionary.com Unabridged. n.d. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cliche. Retrieved 2010-21-2.
- ^ Harper, Douglas. "cliche". Online Etymology Dictionary. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cliche. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- ^ Freeman, Michael (2004). Nature and Landscape Photography. Lark Books. p. 36. ISBN 1-57990-545-5. http://books.google.com/?id=0bGIPv-OR6UC&pg=PA36. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- ^ a b "cliché". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cliche. Retrieved 2010-21-2.
- ^ a b c Brown, Lesley, editor (1993). "cliché". New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861271-0.
- Anton C. Zijderveld (1979). On Clichés: The Supersedure of Meaning by Function in Modernity. Routledge. ISBN 071000186X.
- Margery Sabin (1987). "The Life of English Idiom, the Laws of French Cliché". The Dialect of the Tribe. Oxford University Press US. pp. 10–25. ISBN 0195041534.
- Veronique Traverso and Denise Pessah (Summer 2000). "Stereotypes et cliches: Langue, discours, societe". Poetics Today (Duke University Press) 21 (3): 463–465. doi:10.1215/03335372-21-2-463.
- Skorczewski, Dawn (December 2000). ""Everybody Has Their Own Ideas": Responding to Cliche in Student Writing". College Composition and Communication 52 (2): 220–239. doi:10.2307/358494. JSTOR 358494.
- Ruth Amossy and Chutiya Terese Lyons (1982). "The Cliché in the Reading Process". SubStance (University of Wisconsin Press) 11 (2.35): 34–45. doi:10.2307/3684023. JSTOR 3684023.
- Sullivan, Frank (1947) . "The Cliche Expert Testifies as a Roosevelt Hater". In Crane. The Roosevelt Era. New York: Boni and Gaer. pp. 237–242. OCLC 275967. "Mr. Arbuthnot: No sir! Nobody is going to tell me how to run my business. Q: Mr. Arbuthnot, you sound like a Roosevelt hater. A: I certainly am. Q: In that case, perhaps you could give us an idea of some of the cliches your set is in the habit of using in speaking of Mr. Roosevelt ..."
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