“Our writers are full of clichés just as old barns are full of bats. There is obviously no rule about this, except that anything that you suspect of being a cliché undoubtedly is one and had better be removed.”—Wolcott Gibbs
It was a dark and stormy night, and my back was against the wall. I couldn’t think of one sentence to write. I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I decided to shake things up a bit. I decided to take the plunge to shatter my writer’s block. No matter how hard I tried, I could not put my best writing foot forward.
Moral of This Story?
Avoid the same-old, same-old. Never use a cliché, metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech that you’ve repeatedly heard or read.
The dictionary at answers.com defines cliché [klee sháy] as, “A trite or overused expression or idea. Cliché is the [French, past participle of clicher, to stereotype (imitative of the sound made when the matrix is dropped into molten metal to make a stereotype plate).]”
How Do You Recognize a Cliché?
It is a phrase that has or is—
Lost its originality or original effectiveness or power from overuse
A once-original thought that has become a truism, an obvious truth.
From Soup to Nuts
Avoid cacosyntheton (cak-o-SIN-the-ton), which from the Greek means “badly composed.” If you suspect a phrase is worn out, check out these websites listing “tired old clichés.”
Everyday Shakespearean Clichés
Clichés: Avoid Them Like the Plague
So there you have it.
It is what it is.