A cliché can be two things. It can be an overused expression, something that is said a lot that has become some common, it no longer really has any relevance or is even noticed in convrsation. Phrases such as “to this day” or “next thing I knew” are examples of such a cliche, and you often say these phrases without noticing you are doing so. A cliché can also refer to an idea that has come to have special meaning different form its literal meaning. For example, the phrases “sweaty palms” or “twinkling eyes” have come to mean more than the fact that your palms are just sweaty or that your eye's have a twinkle. When you say someone has sweaty palms, everyone knows you mean "he is nervous" because the expression has become a cliche. Where Did the Word Cliche Come From?
The word cliché comes from 2 origins. The French used the word to describe a particular sound: the sound that a matrix, or a mold with letters on it, made when it was being dropped into molten metal. This was done to make a printing plate. Oddly enough, the printing plate itself was called a cliché or a stereotype and it was one of the first movable types in the world. What Are Some Examples of Cliches?
There are numerous different examples of cliches. Some cliches can be poetic, such as Shakespeare's, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This phrase became so popular and widely used, that Shakespeare created a new cliche. Other favorite English clichés include, “All that glitters is not gold” and “don’t get your knickers in a twist.” “All for one, and one for all” was also a popular English cliche that took hold in America. In America, clichés are commonly used as well. Having “nerves of steel” and to “make up” are some of America’s more commonly used clichés. “Tail between his legs” or “can it” are also cliches.