cliché

noun
cli·​ché | \ klē-ˈshā How to pronounce cliché (audio) , ˈklē-ˌshā, kli-ˈshā \
variants: or less commonly cliche

Definition of cliché

1 : a trite phrase or expression also : the idea expressed by it
2 : a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation
3 : something (such as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace

Other Words from cliché

cliché adjective

What is the Difference Between cliché and stereotype?

The words cliché and stereotype have a good deal in common. Both come from French, both were originally printers’ terms, and both have come to take on somewhat negative meanings in modern use.

Their original meanings are essentially synonymous, referring to printing blocks from which numerous prints could be made. In fact, cliché means stereotype in French. Their modern meanings, however, are quite distinct. Cliché is today overwhelmingly encountered in reference to something hackneyed, such as an overly familiar or commonplace phrase, theme, or expression. Stereotype is most frequently now employed to refer to an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic.

Examples of cliché in a Sentence

Non-Amateur writers avoid industriously the word Orwellian, because even years ago it became an overused and underdefined cliché. — William F. Buckley, Jr., National Review, 1 May 2000 FILM "I Like It Like That": It has every cliché of the 'hood genre, elevated by a strong woman protagonist and a few comic moments. — Bell Hooks, Ms., September/October 1994 I'd never been out with a model before, so I hadn't even bargained on the cliché of the rock star and the model as being part of my life. — David Bowie, quoted in Rolling Stone, 10 June 1993 Time has been the best healer for the pain of loss, just as the old cliché says, but letting go is still difficult. — Lynn McAndrews, My Father Forgets, 1990 … don't seek the ultimate, general solution; find a corner that can be defined precisely and, as our new cliché proclaims, go for it. — Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History, July 1987 a speech filled with clichés about “finding your way” and “keeping the faith” The macho cop of Hollywood movies has become a cliché.
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Recent Examples on the Web The two-sides-to-every-story cliche doesn’t apply here, because one side is a lie. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 6 Jan. 2022 To borrow the old cliche: the world is your oyster. Hanna Marie Asmussen, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 Herding cats is the long-standing cliche for attempting to control the uncontrollable. Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2021 The setup of a single adult man having revelations about life because of time spent with a child is certainly nothing new in cinema, but Mills again puts his own stamp on it without cliche or cynicism. Lindsey Bahr, Detroit Free Press, 3 Dec. 2021 But the cliche obscures the constant struggle to build and maintain that democratic rule. Washington Post, 28 July 2021 The old cliche that football is a game of inches fought in the trenches was evident on this run play in the fourth quarter. John Kuntz, cleveland, 22 Oct. 2021 Far from the cliche of a few entrepreneurs working in a garage, Carlyle by 1995 had existed for eight years, boasted a former defense secretary as chairman and had advised a member of the Saudi royal family on a $500 million investment in Citigroup. Washington Post, 7 June 2021 And like the movie, the box is full of moments that demolish the cliche that the Beatles hated one another. Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, 22 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cliché.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cliché

1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cliché

French, literally, printer's stereotype, from past participle of clicher to stereotype, of imitative origin

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Time Traveler for cliché

Time Traveler

The first known use of cliché was in 1881

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Dictionary Entries Near cliché

Cliburn

cliché

clichéd

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Statistics for cliché

Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cliché.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clich%C3%A9. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for cliché

cliché

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cliché

: a phrase or expression that has been used so often that it is no longer original or interesting
: something that is so commonly used in books, stories, etc., that it is no longer effective

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