hack·​neyed ˈhak-nēd How to pronounce hackneyed (audio)
: lacking in freshness or originality
hackneyed slogans

Did you know?

Does hackney come from the name of an English town?

Hackney entered the English language in the 14th century as a noun. Some think perhaps it came from "Hakeneye" (now "Hackney"), the name of a town (now a borough) in England. Others dispute this explanation, pointing to similar forms in other European languages. The noun "hackney," in any case, refers to a horse suitable for ordinary riding or driving-as opposed to one used as a draft animal or a war charger. When "hackney" was first used as a verb in the late 16th century, it often meant "to make common or frequent use of." Later, it meant "to make trite, vulgar, or commonplace." The adjective "hackneyed" began to be used in the 18th century and now is a common synonym for "trite."

Choose the Right Synonym for hackneyed

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views of minorities that are stereotyped and out-of-date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

Examples of hackneyed in a Sentence

it's hackneyed, but true—the more you save the more you earn
Recent Examples on the Web Yet somehow, the shell company set up to convey his hackneyed rants reached a $9 billion valuation, putting it up there with Etsy. Philip Elliott, TIME, 4 Apr. 2024 This is most keenly felt in the second half, when the author’s command of his subject slips and the story rushes to its hackneyed conclusion. Michael Greenberg, New York Times, 10 Mar. 2024 The show's cringing-while-laughing setup would be too much for some viewers — but many others found watching the gang guessing ethnicities written on index cards taped to their foreheads to be a welcome change to the hackneyed humor of the contemporary sitcom landscape. Erin Strecker, EW.com, 21 Feb. 2024 Flat-footed contrivances, compounded by hackneyed humor and stereotypical targets, contribute to the sense that the play is always a beat behind. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan. 2024 Christian Carion’s seventh feature steers clear of hackneyed tropes, alternating between jarring flashbacks of Madeleine’s hard domestic younger years and those intimate conversations between this unlikely duo who form a bond as the day shifts into night. Randy Myers, The Mercury News, 17 Jan. 2024 Biden made much in his hackneyed speech — it probably could have been written by a precocious eighth grader in an AP government class — of a painting in the U.S. Capitol of George Washington resigning his commission. Rich Lowry, National Review, 8 Jan. 2024 But in the end, this is still a stereotypical superhero comic story, with all the hackneyed, overwrought presentation that can imply. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 17 Oct. 2023 Why not grasp beyond the hackneyed hope of detecting fragments of parchments in ancient monasteries and caves? Cynthia Ozick, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hackneyed.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from past participle of hackney entry 3

First Known Use

1735, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hackneyed was in 1735


Dictionary Entries Near hackneyed

Cite this Entry

“Hackneyed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hackneyed. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


hack·​neyed ˈhak-nēd How to pronounce hackneyed (audio)
: worn out from too much use : commonplace
a hackneyed expression

More from Merriam-Webster on hackneyed

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!