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A Dictionary of Cliches


Cliches, the "coin(s) so battered by use as to be defaced," are anathema to Eric Partridge. He says, "their ubiquity is remarkable and rather frightening," and while he likens proverbs to expressions of wisdom, he says, cliches are instances of "inanition." They all sound familiar, for such is the nature of the cliche. What, for example, does "in the event of an emergency" add, beyond verbosity, instead of "in an emergency"? And so, from "abject apology" to "your guess is as good as mine," he lists, explains, and categorizes more than 2,000 trite and tired phrases to avoid "at all costs."

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Tags: definitions, sources, amplified, formidable, makes