An example of a cliché is the expression of "walk a mile in another's shoes."
- Archaic a stereotype printing plate
- an expression or idea that has become trite
Origin of clichéFrench from clicher, to stereotype from German klitsch, clump, claylike mass (hence, origin, originally , to pattern in clay)
- A trite or overused expression or idea: “Even while the phrase was degenerating to cliché in ordinary public use … scholars were giving it increasing attention” ( Anthony Brandt )
- A person or character whose behavior is predictable or superficial: “There is a young explorer … who turns out not to be quite the cliche expected” ( John Crowley )
Origin of clicheFrench past participle of clicher to stereotype (imitative of the sound made when the matrix is dropped into molten metal to make a stereotype plate)
Usage Note: The use of cliché as an adjective meaning “clichéd” goes back to the 1950s. Nonetheless, this usage is traditionally considered improper, and the majority of the Usage Panel agrees with that assessment. In 2011, 79% of the Panel considered the sentence It would sound very cliché to say he died as he lived, helping people to be unacceptable. About a fifth of the Panelists, however, found this usage either somewhat or completely acceptable. As is the case with most nouns, the use of cliché in compounds, such as cliché-ridden, meaning “full of clichés,” is perfectly acceptable. The use of cliché as an adjective is alluring because English has borrowed some é -final adjectives from French participles, such as passé and recherché . Because the overwhelming use of cliché is as a noun, however, the English adjective was originally formed directly from that noun by adding -d, the same process that gives us words such as barefaced, single-spaced, and fated.
- The alternative spelling cliche may be used without confusion, as there is no other word in English with this spelling. (Contrast résumé, resumé.)
- Informal form of cliché.