idea which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or being irritating

A cliché, in English is a phrase which is used too much. Originally, the word meant (in French) a stereotype plate, which is a term in printing.

A cliché is a stock expression used again and again. It has "lost its freshness and vigour through overuse, and suggests insincerity, lack of thought or laziness on the part of the writer".[1]


  • leave no stone unturned
  • none the worse for wear
  • explore every avenue
  • food for thought
  • dead as a doornail
  • avoid like the plague
  • the name of the game
  • the bottom line
  • there's no smoke without fire
  • from time immemorial

Style guides advise writers to avoid clichés.


  1. McArthur, Tom 1992. The Oxford companion to the English language. Oxford University Press, p222. ISBN 0-19-214183-X