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That's so cliche...
January 30, 2011 6:17 PM   Subscribe

I need your help coming up with as many cliched and hackneyed phrases as possible.

The following sentence has a couple of the kinds of expressions I'm looking for: You're making a mountain out of a molehill. Jason and Heath are on the right track by taking the road less traveled.

So, if you care to help a brother out, share a few pearls of wisdom. If not, avoid this post like the plague.
posted by ndicecco to Writing & Language (48 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
You're biting off more than you can chew, wanting as many as possible.
posted by ericost at 6:20 PM on January 30, 2011


You need the Dictionary of Cliches.
posted by John Cohen at 6:22 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're barking up the wrong tree.
posted by notbuddha at 6:22 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions
posted by Think_Long at 6:22 PM on January 30, 2011


If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:26 PM on January 30, 2011


You're beating a dead horse.

Take the high road, not the low road.

It's the end of the road.

It's time for some tough love.

You're beating around the bush.

A penny saved is a penny earned.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:27 PM on January 30, 2011


It is what it is.

UGH
posted by cashman at 6:29 PM on January 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


You're basically looking for the Collected Works of Thomas Friedman:

"The big wild card — a critical mass of people who share our aspirations inside these countries, rising up and leading the fight, which is ultimately what tipped Iraq for the better — I don’t see. As such, I fear we are sliding into commitments in Afghanistan and Pakistan without a real national debate about the ends or the means or the exits. That is a recipe for trouble."

(I mean, bwuh?)
posted by mhoye at 6:31 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's cross that bridge when we come to it. That train has left the station. You've got a lot on your plate.
posted by Pax at 6:32 PM on January 30, 2011


"I could care less." (Doesn't make sense)

"Drawing a line in the sand" (Seemingly every boundary of any kind is a line in the sand ever since the Gulf War)
posted by Franzilla at 6:33 PM on January 30, 2011


Back in the saddle.
Making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
There's two sides to this coin.
It's the road less traveled.
Teach an old dog new tricks.
All's well that ends well.
Stubborn as a mule.
Pig headed.
Raining cats and dogs.
It's not the heat, it's the humidity.
The old ball and chain.
Down in the dumps.
Stick a fork in it, it's done!
Looks like dog's breakfast.
It's the cat's pajamas.
Like herding cats.
Time heals all wounds.
There's no time like the present.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 6:35 PM on January 30, 2011


"I could care less." (Doesn't make sense)

'I couldn't care less' makes sense to me. If you are at the Absolute Zero of caring, it would impossible to care less.
posted by ian1977 at 6:36 PM on January 30, 2011


Still waters run deep.
You're driving me up the wall.
I'm madder than a wet hen.
My blood is boiling.
Another day, another dollar.
Colder than a witch's tit.
Taking candy from a baby.

(I could go on all night. I'm an untapped well. There's more where this came from.)
posted by Felicity Rilke at 6:39 PM on January 30, 2011


You might like the essay Politics and the English Language by George Orwell. It's a bit outdated from 1946, but some of his examples are still in use today.
posted by scose at 6:41 PM on January 30, 2011


The ones most commonly heard in the corporate world:

1. Let us cross that bridge when we come to it

2. What "value-adds" can we provide?

3. Let me play the devil's advocate for a moment here
posted by theobserver at 6:51 PM on January 30, 2011


"If we can hit this bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."

/futurama
posted by Rhaomi at 7:00 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Run it up the flag pole and see who salutes it
posted by pianomover at 7:08 PM on January 30, 2011


Going forward, you may be moving towards an overarching paradigm shift.
posted by dangerousdan at 7:11 PM on January 30, 2011


When the rubber hits the road, we're going to tell you what kind of wood makes shingles. At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. And now you're cooking with gas!
posted by The World Famous at 7:11 PM on January 30, 2011


And you can put that in your pipe and smoke it.
posted by The World Famous at 7:12 PM on January 30, 2011


The grass is always greener on the other side.
posted by mittenedsex at 7:36 PM on January 30, 2011


Frank Sullivan had a wonderful running series of testimonies by Mr. Arbuthnot, the Cliche Expert back in the day. In later years, I've been pleased as punch to see him brought back from time to time.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:42 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's this staple of Australian sports commentary: "All the boys gave 110% but at the end of the day the best team won. But you know, full credit to the boys, I gotta say, the real winner here today was *insert football code*."

Weaselwords.com.au is a headdesk-worthy compilation of corporate cliches.
posted by jaynewould at 7:51 PM on January 30, 2011


You need to step up to the plate.
Think outside the box.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:54 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


"He's a poor man's (whatever famous name you want to put here)."
"The show was like (another show) on crack/steroids/from hell."
"That is not OK!" (For some reason young parents like to use this in adult conversations.)
"I don't care if you're black, white, red or purple..."
"California is full of fruits and nuts."
Calling Los Angeles,"La-la land."
"Cocaine/meth/etc. is a hell of a drug."
"I said to myself, 'you know what, hey,' I don't have to..." (whatever they realized they weren't responsible for goes here).
"As long as the trains run on time."
"Bread and Circuses."
"In one ear and out the other."
"Chomping/champing at the bit."
"You can't love anyone until you love yourself."
"There's only one race - the human race."
"The only color that really matters is green... (wait for it) money."
posted by Kloryne at 7:59 PM on January 30, 2011


Time wounds all heels.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:28 PM on January 30, 2011


Dance like no one is watching.
A watched pot never boils.
You can't have your cake and eat it, too.
It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
His bark is worse than his bite.
It runs the gamut.
It's a golden opportunity.
Circle the wagons.
It's on the tip of my tongue.
Gone in the blink of an eye.
There are two types of people in the world...
Everything's coming up roses.
Stop and smell the roses.
Slow as molasses.
Wily as a fox.
He's as good as gone.
Kill two birds with one stone.
Can't get blood from a stone.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 9:13 PM on January 30, 2011


I think you're beating your head against a dead horse here, but if you want to run it up a flagpole and see if it holds water, I'm all ears.
posted by motown missile at 9:24 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


At this point in time there's nothing left to do but hit it out of the park.
posted by Anitanola at 9:35 PM on January 30, 2011


How about a whole book "chock full" of them?
The Dimwit's Dictionary
posted by Jacqueline at 10:07 PM on January 30, 2011


You need? You want?
Well, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.
and furthermore...
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
God willing and the crik don't rise.
Some people haven't got the sense that God gave geese.
Just talking to hear your head rattle.
Mad enough to chew nails.

Then of course, there are all the bathroom and menstruation and sex euphemisms. I don't know if those qualify as cliches, though.

And just because this is the internet:
Your mileage may vary.
In my humble opinion...
and of course...
Laughing my ass off :-)
posted by SLC Mom at 10:59 PM on January 30, 2011


4 cans short of a 6-pack. 4 sandwiches short of a picnic.
posted by arcticseal at 11:02 PM on January 30, 2011


Going forward, it's all about going forward. And at the end of the day, it's all about moving forward, one day at a time. Do the math, because it is what it is, and someone has to step up. Have I been there? Yes. Have I done that? Absolutely! Now, is this a game-changer? Perhaps. A sea change? Not so much. Did I mention it's all about going forward?

(Oh, God. Make it stop.)
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:43 AM on January 31, 2011


Don't let these answers scare the shit out of you.
posted by Heretical at 1:13 AM on January 31, 2011


Let John Prine sing some to you
posted by mikepop at 6:06 AM on January 31, 2011


You can rearrange the deck chairs, but it's still the Titanic.
posted by analog at 6:31 AM on January 31, 2011


ClicheFinder
posted by Miko at 7:08 AM on January 31, 2011


"Avoid like the plague"
Seriously... when have you ever avoided the bubonic plague?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:31 AM on January 31, 2011


Tax and Spend agenda
Hail Mary pass
Maverick
Work across the aisle
Threw his hat into the ring
Grow the economy
The buzz has gone viral
Break out of the pack
Stupid is as stupid does
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 7:48 AM on January 31, 2011


You could be doing this 'til the cows come home, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
posted by bryon at 7:59 AM on January 31, 2011


Also, you're getting a lot of answers here, but a thing is always in the last place you look for it.
posted by bryon at 9:02 AM on January 31, 2011


May I suggest the story Puppy Love: A Dog-Eared Romance in this issue of Porchlight (it is composed entirely of cliches).
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:23 AM on January 31, 2011


People who live in glass houses shouldn't kill two birds with one stone.
posted by MXJ1983 at 12:14 PM on January 31, 2011


Seems to me you are all just preaching to the choir in the way you have really wrapped your arms around this project and embraced it as your own.
posted by quietalittlewild at 12:36 PM on January 31, 2011


Roll up your sleeves and take the bull by the horns.
posted by Fortnight Bender at 12:37 PM on January 31, 2011


There's light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow is another day. Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, it's all water under the bridge.
posted by quietalittlewild at 12:43 PM on January 31, 2011


Act in haste, repent at leisure.
posted by Pressed Rat at 5:45 PM on January 31, 2011


The Eumaeus episode of Joyce's Ulysses contains as many clichés and hackneyed phrases as he could come up with.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:37 PM on January 31, 2011


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