Word of the Day

cliché

Definition

a phrase or idea that is boring because people use it a lot and it is no longer original

Origin and usage

The word cliché comes from the French verb ‘clicher’ meaning ‘to stereotype’. It first appeared in English in the mid 19th century. The associated adjective is clichéd.



Examples

Cliché refers to a thought, idea, saying or habit that has been so overused that it has become predictable, commonplace and boring over time. A cliché is a tired, unoriginal verbal response or stereotypical reaction. Some common English phrases that have become clichés are ‘strong as an ox’ or ‘it must get worse before it gets better’ or ‘from the bottom of my heart’.

In terms of ideas for travel, many destinations have become clichéd — a romantic trip to Paris in springtime or visiting the Colosseum in Rome, for example. Yet there are many clichéd tourist spots that are still worth the trip, even if you have to brave long queues or crowds of tour groups.

Topping the list is the Eiffel Tower. Constructed in 1889, this iconic landmark is the subject of countless clichéd travel photos, but paying a visit to this classic steel structure and seeing it up close is a traveller’s dream come true. (The phrase ‘dream come true’ is also a cliché.)

The canals of Venice, Italy are another clichéd destination that has a reputation as a tourist trap, having lost much of its authentic charm. But a visit to Venice includes great food and wine, as well as plenty of opportunities to ride in a gondola or water taxi.

The Grand Canyon has earned a clichéd reputation thanks to its depiction in hundreds of movies and television shows. But even a short visit to this massive landmark offers incredible views and an overwhelming sense of natural beauty and majesty.

Quotations

“That’s the shock: All clichés are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is.”
(David Bowie)

Similar words

adage, aphorism, platitude
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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