adjective hack·neyed \ ˈhak-nēd \
Updated on: 20 May 2018

Definition of hackneyed

: lacking in freshness or originality
  • hackneyed slogans

hackneyed was our Word of the Day on 04/05/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of hackneyed in a Sentence

  1. it's hackneyed, but true—the more you save the more you earn

Recent Examples of hackneyed from the Web

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

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."

Origin and Etymology of hackneyed

Synonym Discussion of 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    • views of minorities that are stereotyped and out-of-date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

HACKNEYED Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of hackneyed for English Language Learners

  • : not interesting, funny, etc., because of being used too often : not fresh or original

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good-natured ridicule

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