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"Our Three-Volume Novel at a Glance", a cartoon by Priestman Atkinson, from the Punch Almanack for 1885 (which would have been published in late 1884). This is a jocular look at some clichéd expressions in the popular literature of the time

A cliché or cliche (pronounced klē-ˈshā) is a saying, expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, rendering it a stereotype, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. The term is frequently used in modern culture for an action or idea which is expected or predictable, based on a prior event. It is likely to be used pejoratively. But "clichés" are not always false or inaccurate;[1] a cliché may or may not be true.[2]  Some are stereotypes, but some are simply truisms and facts.[3]   A cliché may sometimes be used in a work of fiction for comedic effect.

Contents

Other meanings

A "frame" in a nature photograph, especially an obvious possibility such as an overhanging branch, can be a cliché.[4]

In printing, a cliché was a printing plate cast from movable type. This is also called a stereotype.[5] When letters were set one at a time, it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly as a single slug of metal. "Cliché" came to mean such a ready-made phrase. The French word “cliché” comes from the sound made when the matrix is dropped into molten metal to make a printing plate.[6]

Most such phrases were originally striking, but they lost their force through overuse.[7] In this connection, David Mason and John Frederick Nims cite the particularly harsh judgement of Salvador Dalí: "The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot."[8]

A spoken or written cliché is often a vivid depiction of an abstract matter that works by means of analogy and/or exaggeration. The picture used is usually drawn from everyday experience so that the recipient most probably can relate to the depiction by tentatively querying their reaction to what is conveyed in the picture. When used sparingly and deliberately, a cliché can be used to great poetic effect. However, cliché in writing is generally considered a mark of inexperience or unoriginality.[citation needed]

Usage

Cliché is a noun that is also used as an adjective,[9][10] though some dictionaries do not recognize the adjective sense.[11][12] All dictionaries consulted recognize a derived adjective with the same meaning, clichéd[9][10][11][12] or cliché'd.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ Ten Cliches That Actually Ring True - 09/16/2008 - by DearSugar
  2. ^ Short Story Library Thick skin and writing, cliché, but true - Published By Casey Quinn • May 10th, 2009 • Category: Casey's Corner
  3. ^ The Free Dictionary - Cliche
  4. ^ Freeman, Michael (2004). Nature and Landscape Photography. Lark Books. p. 36. ISBN 1-57990-545-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=0bGIPv-OR6UC&pg=PA36. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  5. ^ "The Museum of Printing: Collection". The Museum of Printing. http://www.museumofprinting.org/Collection.html. Retrieved 13 March 2009. 
  6. ^ Morris, William and Mary (eds); entry for “cliché”, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1975).
  7. ^ Mason, David; Nims, John Frederick (1999). Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry. McGraw-Hill. pp. 126–127. ISBN 0-07-303180-1. 
  8. ^ Dalí, Salvador (1968). "Preface". in Pierre Cabanne. Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp (1987 ed.). Da Capo Press. p. 13. ISBN 0306803038. 
  9. ^ a b "cliché". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cliche. Retrieved 2010-21-2. 
  10. ^ a b "cliché". Dictionary.com Unabridged. n.d. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cliche. Retrieved 2010-21-2. 
  11. ^ a b c Brown, Lesley, editor (1993). "cliché". New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861271-0. 
  12. ^ a b "cliche". The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. n.d. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cliche. Retrieved 2010-21-2. 

Further reading

  • Anton C. Zijderveld (1979). On Clichés: The Supersedure of Meaning by Function in Modernity. Routledge. ISBN 071000186X. 
  • Margery Sabin (1987). "The Life of English Idiom, the Laws of French Cliché". The Dialect of the Tribe. Oxford University Press US. pp. 10–25. ISBN 0195041534. 
  • Veronique Traverso and Denise Pessah (Summer 2000). "Stereotypes et cliches: Langue, discours, societe". Poetics Today (Duke University Press) 21 (3): 463–465. doi:10.1215/03335372-21-2-463. 
  • Skorczewski, Dawn (December 2000). ""Everybody Has Their Own Ideas": Responding to Cliche in Student Writing.". College Composition and Communication 52 (2): 220–239. doi:10.2307/358494. 
  • Ruth Amossy and Chutiya Terese Lyons (1982). "The Cliché in the Reading Process". SubStance (University of Wisconsin Press) 11 (2.35): 34–45. doi:10.2307/3684023. http://jstor.org./pss/3684023. 

External links

Cliché

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