Clichés that Refuse to (Ahem) Go Quietly into the Night


1 June 2014

Samuel Goldwyn famously quipped that the world needs some new clichés. For certain, writers of history have worn out all those created in the past 300 years.

Consider the following from a thesis on the struggles of organized labor in the early twentieth century:

"Bloody but unbowed, the protesters set off a chain reaction in their closely knit community; many friends and neighbors now jumped at the chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support."

So, how many clichés can you nail to the post in that one sentence?


Recommended reading for anyone who wants to leave no stone unturned in stamping out such drivel from their own magnum opus or whatever:

  • Nigel Rees, Dictionary of Clichés  (London: Cassell, 1996).
  • Christine Ammer, The Facts of File Dictionary of Clichés: Meaning and Origins of Thousands of Terms and Expressions, 3d ed.  (New York: Facts on File, 2011).

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