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

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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 Then part of it is finding ways to ask questions that maybe aren’t the usual cliche questions. Washington Post, 30 May 2021 Data released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put hard figures on the cliche. Seth Borenstein, chicagotribune.com, 7 May 2021 The cliche is that each tech startup needs at least a hacker and a hustler. Abdo Riani, Forbes, 11 May 2021 Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM. NFL uniform power rankings: Arizona Cardinals have worst uniforms in NFL Somers: The cliche is true. Jose M. Romero, The Arizona Republic, 20 Apr. 2021 Democratic cohesion early in Biden's term sparked gleeful remarks from the Left about Democrats not being in disarray for once — the opposite has become a political cliche because the party often is stymied by warring factions. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 25 Mar. 2021 Beeple’s technique — collaging lots of colorful images in grid format — is a soporific cliche. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2021 People in sports call that humility, but that’s a simplistic cliche for high school kids to easily digest. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 7 Mar. 2021 The previous sentence, while a bit of a cliche, speaks to the truth that what is a cliché is pregnant with a lot of truth. John Tamny, Forbes, 28 Feb. 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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Learn More About cliché

Time Traveler for cliché

Time Traveler

The first known use of cliché was in 1881

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Statistics for cliché

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cliché.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clich%C3%A9. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cliché

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