Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Does this cliché make me look fat?
People are so clever. They've thought of a million ways to describe things using an analogy, or a few interesting words. Problem is, the sayings are so clever, they get overused.
Thus, the cliché is born.
The term cliché comes from the French word "clicher" or "to stereotype". It's actually a term that originates from the printing press technique of making a plate of a commonly used phrase. It would save time instead of resetting the same letters over and over. Apparently, the sound of the matrix hitting the molten metal in casting the printing plates make a sound that the word cliché came from.
Here's a fun website where you can punch in a word and find a list of clichés that go with the word.
And one handy trick in trying to avoid a cliché? If you start the phrase and anyone can finish it for you, it's probably a cliché.
1. It's raining _____ and ______
2. Rags to______
3. Throw the baby out with ______
I've found I tend to use them in my writing when describing something, and then go back during revisions and replace them with something original from my own brain.
But there are other clichés lurking in our writing that have nothing to do with a few words.
Maybe you've heard of these:
The mean high school cheerleader
The dangerous and dark 'n handsome love interest
The quiet and shy but intelligent girl who's more beautiful than at first glance
Do you have clichés lurking in your writing?