1. A cliché is a phrase that has become meaningless with overuse; for example, it is now meaningless to wish someone a nice day because a once sincere intention has become an empty cliché. The French word cliché means a stereotype printing block, which produced the same page over and over again.
2. Fowler's entry in this topic (1926) was less than six lines long, and quoted only two examples: a minus quantity (as in Clothing among them was a minus quantity) and the order of the day (as in Engine troubles were the order of the day). Since then, the list of fixed expressions that are commonly regarded as clichés has grown, and everyone has their own favourites from those they condemn in the usage of other people. Anthony Burgess mocked clichés in Inside Mr Enderby (1963): He was, however, on the whole, taking all things into consideration, by and large, not to put too fine a point on it, reasonably self-sufficient. The list can be extended with the following, among others: at the end of the day, at the tender age of (anything up to about 30 depending on the context), at this moment in time, conspicuous by one's (or its) absence, the elephant in the room (something obvious but too awkward to mention), explore every avenue, in this day and age, keep a low profile, leave no stone unturned, the light at the end of the tunnel, move the goalposts, on the back burner, over the moon, put your money where your mouth is, ruffle feathers, sick as a parrot, situation (as in crisis situation), level playing-field, not my cup of tea, take on board, until such time as, you name it.
3. Despite a vigorous defence by Nicholas Bagnall (A Defence of Clichés, 1985), they are normally condemned or ridiculed on grounds of style. Christopher Ricks wisely observed (1980) that ‘the only way to speak of a cliché is with a cliché’.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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