or cli·che

[ klee-shey, kli- ]
See synonyms for cliché on
  1. a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.

  2. (in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.

  1. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.

  2. British Printing.

    • a stereotype or electrotype plate.

    • a reproduction made in a like manner.

  1. trite; hackneyed; stereotyped; clichéd.

Origin of cliché

First recorded in 1825–35; from French: “stereotype plate, stencil,” noun use of past participle of clicher “to make a stereotype plate,” said to be imitative of the sound of the metal pressed against the matrix

Other words for cliché

Words Nearby cliché Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cliché in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cliché


/ (ˈkliːʃeɪ) /

  1. a word or expression that has lost much of its force through overexposure, as for example the phrase: it's got to get worse before it gets better

  2. an idea, action, or habit that has become trite from overuse

  1. printing, mainly British a stereotype or electrotype plate

Origin of cliché

C19: from French, from clicher to stereotype; imitative of the sound made by the matrix when it is dropped into molten metal

Derived forms of cliché

  • clichd or clich'd, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for cliché


A much used expression that has lost its freshness and descriptive power. Some clichés are “I thank you from the bottom of my heart” and “It's only a drop in the bucket.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.