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 The Utes made the commitment to run the ball, not giving up on the pass, but utilizing their ground game to the form of the oldest cliche in all of football — run the ball to set up the pass. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Oct. 2021 One, Shanahan has avoided the cliche of annoyance at the media. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Aug. 2021 The opaque cliche rationale leaves the remaining workers concerned. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 Saying the Clippers are down 2-0 in a playoff series has become a cliche. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 24 June 2021 Despite all the design-forward accommodation options around the world, there's still an enduring cliche that hotels are humorless, colorless spaces. Lilit Marcus, CNN, 25 Aug. 2021 In other adaptations this plays out as a Bachelor style spectacle where young women compete against each other for a guy, but director Kay Cannon and Mirojnick wanted to avoid that cliche. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 9 Aug. 2021 Sauer reinforces the cliche by portraying Free Ray as a mysterious stoic who, with one major exception, chooses to remain mute. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 17 Aug. 2021 It’s a cliche, but in Sicily, there’s truly something for everyone. Liam Hess, Vogue, 27 July 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

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cliché.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clich%C3%A9. Accessed 28 Oct. 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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