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cliché

or cli·che

[klee-shey, kli-]
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noun
  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.
  3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.
  4. British Printing.
    1. a stereotype or electrotype plate.
    2. a reproduction made in a like manner.
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adjective
  1. trite; hackneyed; stereotyped; clichéd.
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Origin of cliché

1825–35; < French: stereotype plate, stencil, cliché, noun use of past participle of clicher to make such a plate, said to be imitative of the sound of the metal pressed against the matrix

Synonyms

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1. platitude, bromide, stereotype, commonplace.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cliche

cliché

noun
  1. a word or expression that has lost much of its force through overexposure, as for example the phraseit's got to get worse before it gets better
  2. an idea, action, or habit that has become trite from overuse
  3. printing, mainly British a stereotype or electrotype plate
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Derived Formsclichd or clich'd, adjective

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for cliche

n.

1825, "electrotype, stereotype," from French cliché, a technical word in printer's jargon for "stereotype block," noun use of past participle of clicher "to click" (18c.), supposedly echoic of the sound of a mold striking molten metal. Figurative extension to "trite phrase, worn-out expression" is first attested 1888, following the course of stereotype. Related: Cliched (1928).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cliche in Culture

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.”

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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.