It wasn’t until I read my own first line in a review of The Portrait of Doreene Gray that I realized I’d used one of the oldest writing tropes in the book.
Outside the darkened windows of Doreene Gray’s second floor bedroom, a squall buffeted the house and whistled across the gingerbread trimming.
Yup. I’d essentially written, “It was a dark and stormy night.”
Then I thought about the word “cliché,” and then I wondered what the heck it meant in the original French.
Wikipedia to the rescue.
The word is borrowed from French. In printing, a cliché was a printing plate cast from movable type. This is also called a stereotype. When letters were set one at a time, it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly as a single slug of metal. “Cliché” came to mean such a ready-made phrase. Many authorities say that the French word “cliché” comes from the sound made when the molten stereotyping metal is poured onto the matrix to make a printing plate, including the statement that it is a variant of cliquer, “to click”, though some express doubt.
Pretty interesting, non? Anyway, this is all by way of pointing out that there’s a new review for Portrait. Bonus points for her use of “inveigling.” Haven’t heard that word in ages.
3 thoughts on “Cliché – What’s the original meaning of that word?”
Now that’ s what I call a good review by someone who actually read the book. Loved how she explained the halo around the Chihuahua…although the facial hair on the little critter hardly qualifies as a “Gigi”.
Esri, congrats on that great review! You can tell the writer was genuinely enthusiastic! Good going!
Thanks, Dori! Yeah, she totally gets what I do. That’s always nice.