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adjective \ˈtrīt\

Simple Definition of trite

  • : not interesting or effective because of being used too often : not fresh or original

Full Definition of trite


  1. :  hackneyed or boring from much use :  not fresh or original

trite·ly adverb
trite·ness noun

Examples of trite

  1. The wrong sort of built environment, she argued, wrecked the social fabric of cities. This view seems almost trite today, but in the 1960's it was insurgent. —Robert Kuttner, New York Times Book Review, 12 Mar. 2000

  2. Experts are always unique (their tritest pronouncements are packaged as news) … —Wendy Kaminer, New York Times Book Review, 11 Feb. 1990

  3. Its wares are soiled with frequent handling; its styles are so hackneyed, trite, and homogeneous, they constitute a single style … —Joyce Carol Oates, The Profane Art, 1983

  4. That argument has become trite.

  5. <by the time the receiving line had ended, the bride and groom's thanks sounded trite and tired>

Origin of trite

Latin tritus, from past participle of terere to rub, wear away — more at throw

First Known Use: 1548

Synonym Discussion of trite

trite, hackneyed, stereotyped, threadbare mean lacking the freshness that evokes attention or interest. trite applies to a once effective phrase or idea spoiled from long familiarity <“you win some, you lose some” is a trite expression>. hackneyed stresses being worn out by overuse so as to become dull and meaningless <all of the metaphors and images in the poem are hackneyed>. stereotyped implies falling invariably into the same pattern or form <views of minorities that are stereotyped and out-of-date>. threadbare applies to what has been used until its possibilities of interest have been totally exhausted <a mystery novel with a threadbare plot>.

Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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