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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 clichés
  • Duck needs a new quiver of cliches to roll around as he rattles his ice.
  • Blues-rock duo avoids cliches and throws in some pure soul.
  • The movie takes all these hoary cliches and presents them without any trace of irony or self-awareness.
  • Reads for deeper meanings under the surface of the cliches.
  • They are often colloquial, often slang, and through overuse can become cliches.
British Dictionary definitions for clichés


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 clichés
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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clichés 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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