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Overused Metaphor Thesaurus

Creme de la creme, best of the best, top tomato
  (+25, -1)(+25, -1)(+25, -1)
(+25, -1)
  [vote for,

Writing some marketing text recently, I used the "best of the best" phrase, and then of course hated it.

I came to the realization that it would be really useful to have a "cliche" thesaurus, where you could substitute similar phrases, either for real or as a way to get the creative juices going.

theircompetitor, Mar 04 2005

bakin', bakin', bakin' ... bakin', bakin', bakin' ... raw dough http://www.ugc.edu..../rgcnews/lu-en.html
[FarmerJohn, Mar 05 2005]

It's a slam dunk http://www.cnn.com/...am.dunks/index.html
[theircompetitor, Nov 09 2005]

(?) ClicheSite http:/www.clichesite.com
HUGE list of 'em! [TahuNuva, Jan 05 2008]

Leveraged is getting too much leverage http://www.google.c...=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
Stand by for bullshit [Ling, Jan 05 2008, last modified Aug 05 2010]

FreeDictionary Idioms http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/
Not all cliches are in here of course. [ooooooooo, Jan 05 2008]

Amazon: Cliche Dictionaries http://www.amazon.c...ie=UTF8&node=929530
Since there are so many of them, I figured I'd just give you the category... [jutta, Jan 05 2008]

A perfect implementation http://techcrunch.c...ial-media-strategy/
[theircompetitor, Aug 03 2010]

(??) Encyclopedia of Business Cliches http://www.squidoo.com/businesscliches
[theircompetitor, Jul 29 2011]


       World class idea, the HB really is a true centre of excellence in the development of best-of-breed notions.
zen_tom, Mar 04 2005

       I once worked with a guy who spoke entirely in clichés, though he would often twist them to keep them fresh. As all the big shots did the same, my coworker’s career took a nosedive upwards.
ldischler, Mar 04 2005

       "We're going to be maintaining our organic headcount growth rate of two."

I didn't know what it meant either but soon afterwards they sacked everyone.
DenholmRicshaw, Mar 04 2005

       Interesting link, FJ.
theircompetitor, Mar 05 2005


I found a long list of clichés, and what’s really odd is that you can string them along in the order they appear, adding a word or phrase here and there, and they seem to make perfect sense:

I’m staring off into space, and everything's hunky dory. Except the sheriff is here, and it’s a mexican standoff. Hey, Hanky Panky, I say. And you know, he's scared of his own shadow. He’s a scaredy-cat. I turn to my men. “Let's forge ahead, shall we?” And my babe is there too, smiling. “What's cookin' good lookin'?" I say. “We could put two and two together,” she says. “Oh, woe is me,” says the sheriff, looking at all of us. There’s so many of us, he can't see the forest for the trees; he’s worried; his trigger finger is hotter than a mouse in a wool sock. “Quit while you're ahead, I say, don’t be a white elephant.” “That baby runs like a scalded dog,” he replies, which makes about as much sense as what I just said, but I figure imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
ldischler, Mar 05 2005

       All your cliche are belong to us.
Detly, Mar 05 2005

       The worst, most hideous, wrong sounding, hairs up on the back of the neck, teeth grinding, abominal creations of the human mind is "leverage".
If you ever want to turn me off then just use that word in any other place except a maintenance manual.
Ling, Mar 05 2005

       Ah, if we need to forcibly extract information from Ling, we now have the leverage we need.
half, Mar 05 2005

       Leverage is best practice. It adds value and impacts the bottom line.
ldischler, Mar 05 2005

       <presses power button>

Ling, Mar 05 2005

       Whatever leverage is, it is not a verb.
Basepair, Mar 05 2005

       My cutlass is leveraged to the hilt.   

       Cliche is such an overused word...
Basepair, Mar 06 2005

       [ldischler] Me too!!   

       Call it what you want, a rose by any other name smells as sweet. But all that glitters is not gold. Some are all talk and no action. You know what I mean, cliches. Stereotypes, overused metaphors, and all that jazz. They're as dense as a London fog. They're as annoying as all get out. But I suppose all's fair in love and war. And as luck would have it, I'm at the end of my rope. these things are as useful as a lead balloon! Theyre all over, as far as the eye can see! Anyhoo, What I mean is, I'm fighting back. I'm armed to the teeth, and I'm ready to rumble. I am at my wit's end, and I'm about to open a can of whoop-@$$. I'm gonna catch 'em off guard, they won't know what hit 'em. It'll be child's play, like taking candy from a baby. Piece of cake. Yeah, I've got a bone to pick. An axe to grind. So, the clock is ticking. I'm gonna clean their clock. I'm gonna knock their block off. Come hell or high water, I'm gonna crack down on this thing. It's do or die. The time is now. I won't look back. It's now or never. And we all know the ends justify the means. So who's with me?   

       Found 'em at clichesite.com [link]
TahuNuva, Jan 05 2008

       [ling] - is it 'levv-er-ige' you object to or the correctly pronounced 'lee-ver-age'?
vincevincevince, Jan 05 2008

       It doesn't matter how you say it. Actually, the worst is "leveraged".   

       See link for typical uses which switch on my bullshit detector.
Ling, Jan 05 2008

       Sounds like a dictionary of idioms to me. See link. Many cliches are idioms, and most idioms are cliches. I guess there is scope for extending a dictionary of idioms with non-idiomatic cliches, such as "centre of excellence" and "best practice". It would be useful to have a count of how many times certain phrases are used in a variety of corpuses.
ooooooooo, Jan 05 2008

       //disproportionate return on initial investment, through leverage. // Yes, that usage of "leverage" is acceptable even in England. But that is different from "leveraging something", much as "bunnage" is different from "bunnaging" and, indeed "sewage" from "sewing".
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008

       [MB] //Sewage from sewing// hahaha, that was unexpected.
TahuNuva, Jan 05 2008

       [+] by synergistically leveraging IP nexuses, we can positively affect shareholder value   

       translation: divide and conquer, we'll be rich!   

       Anyhoo, an authority on which cliches are the most tired would definitely be very useful.
Spacecoyote, Jan 06 2008

       I think there has been some confusion here between clichés, jargon and metaphors.
marklar, Jan 06 2008

       If you could get this published, it would sell like hot cakes.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 06 2008

       Yes, I'd hate to see you underleveraging your potential. (Google underleveraging)
marklar, Jan 06 2008

       I would but it would only depress me.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 06 2008

       I'm not sure 'leverage' is a cliche as much as a symptom of the implulse to verb words. In this respect it's not as bad as "headquartered" - as in the marketing literature of a company I used to work for: "Headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley, ...".
hippo, Aug 04 2010

       Agreed. I notice that many of our young athletes medalled again last week. I hate those medalling kids!
DrBob, Aug 04 2010

       I, on the other hand, love it when people verb. De gustibus....
mouseposture, Aug 04 2010

       To freshen up "cliche" just pronounce it like we Midwesterners do, to rhyme with leech.   

       I have noticed that foreigners say all sorts of unintelligible things, and surmised that maybe some have much overused cliches of their own. In translation, these canards (which I believe are like regular nards) may have new freshness, weirdness, or both.
bungston, Aug 04 2010

       I see nothing wrong with verbing nouns when it makes for clearer communication.
Voice, Aug 05 2010

       //I see nothing wrong with verbing nouns//   

       Verbing nouns is just the thin end of the iceberg on the hot cakes.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 05 2010

       Iceberg me no icebergs, [MB]. Nouning verbs is sanctioned by the stodgiest of grammarians, so why not vice versa?
mouseposture, Aug 06 2010

       //Sounds like a dictionary of idioms to me. See link. Many cliches are idioms, and most idioms are cliches.//   

       The primary meaning of "idiom" is usage common to some group. For example, "Did you eat breakfast yet?" is idiomatic for Americans, while "Have you eaten breakfast yet?" is idiomatic in Commonwealth countries. The difference is not due to grammar, or the meaning of the words, or anything else that stands up to analysis; it is simply local usage, or idiom. A foreign idiom sounds odd, for no clearly definable reason. More extreme examples are heard from speakers of a second language; for example, a German speaker may say, in English, "Have you the door closed?", which is idiomatic in German, but not in any modern dialect of English - even though it is grammatically correct.   

       "An idiom", meaning a particular combination of words with a meaning beyond its literal one, is derived from the primary meaning, and it irks me that that is treated as *the* meaning.   

       Clearly, I need to get out more.
spidermother, Dec 21 2012


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