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Encyclopedia > Cliché

A cliché (from French, stereotype) is a phrase or expression, or the idea expressed by it, that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially where the same expression was at one time distinctively forceful or novel. By extension, "cliché" applies also to almost any situations, subjects, characterizations, or objects that have similarly become overly familiar or commonplace. As a result, many feel that they should be avoided like the plague. Because the novelty or frequency of an expression's use vary between different times and places, whether a given expression is a cliché depends largely on who uses it and who makes the judgment. Originally cliché was a printing term for a semi-permanently assembled piece of type which could easily be inserted into the document being printed.


It was a dark and stormy night as an opening to a story, is one of the most recognizable clichés in English; likewise and they all lived happily ever after. Proverbs and well-word maxims often take on the air of clichés, as an apple a day keeps the doctor away.


In literary fiction, clichés often take the form of predictable characters or situations, for example the stereotypical pirate might have a pegleg, an eyepatch, a hook for a hand, and a parrot on his shoulder, and be searching for buried treasure using a map with an "X" marking the burial spot: all of these features are clichés. Vampire clichés include a long black cape, slick black hair, and an Eastern European accent. (The most famous, Bela Lugosi's was Hungarian.) Fangs, however, would not be a cliché: they are simply part of being a vampire (by definition), and can neither claim novelty nor be criticized for conventionality. For the term used in Computing, see Stereotype (computing). ... A pirate is one who robs or plunders at sea without a commission from a recognised sovereign nation. ... A peg leg is a type of artificial limb ( Prosthesis). ... An eyepatch is a small cloth patch, usually black, that is worn in front of one eye. ... Hook has a definition at Wiktionary: hook Hook may be a reference to: a fishing hook Captain Hook, a fictional character from J. M. Barries book Peter Pan Hook, a 1991 movie starring Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook hook, a catchy musical passage hook, a type of punch portion... Alternate meanings: Hand (disambiguation) A human left hand The hand (med. ... Genera A parrot is any of the many birds belonging to the family Psittacidae. ... Buried treasure is an important part of modern mythology surrounding pirates. ... Count Orlok from Nosferatu A vampire is a mythical or folkloric creature said to subsist on human and/or animal blood often having magical powers and the ability to transform. ... Accents mark speakers as a member of a group by their pronunciation of the standard language. ... 1931 film poster, promoting Bela Lugosis genre-defining turn as Dracula. ... A definition may be a statement of the essential properties of a certain thing, or a statement of equivalence between a term and that terms meaning. ...


Movie clichés are similar to the ones found in literature, with a particular focus on predictable situations. For example, a common film cliché is for a fruit stand to be knocked over during a chase sequence. Another cliché is when heroes believe they just killed the monster, only for it to come back for one last scare.


In visual art, commonly found cliches include using roses and hearts to express the often complex and personal emotion of love. The generic nature of the symbols is part of what makes these icons ineffective in conveying a deeply personal experience.


In blues music, a cliché is a small quoted passage from blues standards or long-standing folk songs, such as "worried now but won't be worried long," or "the sun's gonna shine in my back door some day" or "she sleeps in the kitchen with her feets in the hall," inserted into an original composition. Unlike other applications of cliché, an occasional appearance is considered effective and useful. Blues is a vocal and instrumental musical form which evolved from African American spirituals, shouts, work songs and chants and has its earliest stylistic roots in West Africa. ...


The expression in other words, though often used, is not a cliché, because it never had nor pretended to have originality or forceful meaning. On the other hand James Joyce's characterization of the ocean, from Ulysses, while original and vivid, is unlikely ever to gain sufficient currency to become a cliché: The sea. The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (February 2, 1882 – January 13, 1941) was an expatriate Irish writer and poet, and is widely considered one of the most significant writers of the 20th century. ... The name Ulysses can mean: The Roman equivalent of Odysseus A 1922 novel by James Joyce: Ulysses (novel) A 1967 movie based on the novel, Ulysses (movie) A solar probe: Ulysses (spacecraft) A poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson A anime television program produced by DiC Entertainment: Ulysses 31 An indie... Snot can refer to: Nasal mucus A punk band; see Snot (band) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The scrotum (human variant shown) is a thin extension of the abdomen that contains the testes and helps regulate their temperature. ...


Extensive use of clichés is sometimes seen as an indicator of poor verbal skills and is common in colloquial language. Clichés are occasionally viewed as insincere, especially when spoken sarcastically. Sarcasm is the making of remarks intended to mock the person referred to (who is normally the person addressed), a situation or thing. ...


See also

Cliché (from French, imitative) refers to: an overused phrase or expression, or the idea expressed by it; a situation, theme or characterization which has become common; a thing (as a style of clothing) that has become overly familiar or commonplace. ... Archetype is defined as the first original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned, or emulated. ...

External links

  • ClichéSite.com For Cliche Expressions (http://www.clichesite.com/index.asp)
  • A list of Clichés in films (http://www.moviecliches.com/)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Cliché - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (366 words)
Many authorities feel that the appearance of cliché in writing or speech can indicate a lack of creativity, innovation, or sincerity on the part of the author/orator.
In storytelling, cliché can both establish rapport with an audience, a usage of a form of shibboleth, and simplify exposition or description.
Commonly, comedy exploits the use of cliché by using a series of literary devices in order to cause the reader or audience to expect a certain cliché, but instead delivering the punchline contrary to what was expected of the cliché (but it could be argued that this in itself has become a cliché).
NationMaster.com - Encyclopedia: Cliche (472 words)
Clich often refers to concepts or ideas that are overused despite not really reflecting reality, expressing a kind of self-reproducing prejudice.
Clich are occasionally viewed as insincere, especially when spoken sarcastically ("avoid clich s like the plague").
Extensive use of clichés is sometimes seen as an indicator of poor verbal skills and is common in colloquial language.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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