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[klee-shey, kli-] /kliˈʃeɪ, klɪ-/
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.
(in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.
anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.
British Printing.
  1. a stereotype or electrotype plate.
  2. a reproduction made in a like manner.
trite; hackneyed; stereotyped; clichéd.
Also, cliche.
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
1. platitude, bromide, stereotype, commonplace. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for cliché
  • It is a cliche that children today think that vegetables come from the store, in cans or plastic bags.
  • It gives you a cliche, stiff style, that really turns people off.
  • As a result, they imitated their elders apishly, and produced cliche after cliche.
  • He was fond of cliche, but only his own, and even the dialects of his conversation were polished.
  • The impact of globalization on ecology is a cliche even to world leaders who ignore it.
  • She thereby launched a myth that time turned into a cliche.
  • Apologies for the cliche, but the message appears to be a universal truth.
  • To trot out another overdone cliche, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again.
  • And it is a cliche of the street that the biggest mark is another hustler.
  • Sure, it sounds a bit cliche, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
British Dictionary definitions for cliché


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
an idea, action, or habit that has become trite from overuse
(printing, mainly Brit) a stereotype or electrotype plate
Derived Forms
clichéd, cliché'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
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Word Origin and History for cliché
1832, borrowing of a technical word from Fr. cliché, printer's jargon for "stereotype," supposedly echoic of mould dropping into molten metal, thus pp. of clicher "to click." Figurative extension is first attested 1888, following the course of stereotype. Related: Cliched (1928).
see cliche.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cliché in Culture

cliché definition

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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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