Friday, August 31, 2007

Hackneyed Expressions

The Harbrace Handbook of English (1941) says

Nearly all trite expressions were once striking and effecive. From overuse they have lost their vigor. They no longer stimulate the reader; often they annoy him.

Here are some of the "hackneyed expresssions" they list:

a bolt from the blue / a long-felt want / bathed in tears
brawny arms / briny deep / brown as a berry
cheered to the echo / course of true love / Dame Fortune / deadly earnest
downy couch / eyes like stars
filthy lucre / flower of the Old South / goodly number
Grim Reaper / justice to the occasion
mad as a wet hen / method in his madness
partake of refreshments
poor but honest / riot of color / strong, silent man / sumptuous repast
sun-kissed meadows / table groaned
take my word for it / to the bitter end / toothsome viands / wrought havoc
wry countenance


Jeff said...

Good thing you’re not my next editor…now half my new book, The Trite of Chumley’s will be safe!

Anonymous said...

“Nearly all trite expressions were once striking and effecive.”