''Avoid clichés [[HypocriticalHumor like the plague]].''

A cliché is a [[StockPhrases phrase]], {{motif}}, {{trope}}, or other element within an artistic work that has become common enough to be seen as predictable, tired, overused, and generally unfavorable. Such items tend to break WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief by calling attention to the lack of creativity on the part of the creator.

This is ''very'' subjective and dependent on the consumer's culture and knowledge level: Some American buying their very first issue of a Japanese {{manga}} might find it new and exciting, but in the home country of Japan, the same manga may be considered old and tired. A person playing their first RolePlayingGame might not realize the MysteriousWaif is far from original. Even then, just through PopculturalOsmosis or a sort of "sixth sense", people not familiar with the cliché might be able to spot it as such.

In spite of the negative stigma, many clichés are fully accepted by the audience so long as they are [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]]. Even then, it doesn't change the fact that it's present; just because a detective comments on how bad mystery novels have [[TheButlerDidIt the butler revealed as the murderer]] doesn't change the fact that, well, TheButlerDidIt.

There are also circumstances under which clichés are expected. To quote Crash Davis from ''BullDurham'':
->You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down...

Even without LampshadeHanging, the LowestCommonDenominator will still lap up works considered heavily cliché for the same reason as something [[StrictlyFormula formulaic]] works: ''because'' of its familiarity. Many people seek brainless entertainment as its own reward and introducing elements requiring deep thought usually just alienates the average person. The sheer number of {{Police Procedural}}s, {{Medical Drama}}s, and {{Romance Novel}}s with summaries that are practically interchangeable exist because people buy them anyway. A lot of ExecutiveMeddling aims to make a work more cliché simply as a way of appealing to broader audiences.

The term cliché is also sometimes used to refer to a verbal {{meme}}. This usage is almost exclusively reserved for old folk sayings. Expressions such as "the early bird gets the worm" and "raining cats and dogs" are examples. Of course, just like internet memes, cliches [[PlayingWithATrope mutate]] over time and iterations. One person might say "The early bird gets the worm, [[{{Metaphorgotten}} but who wants worms]]?" or "It's raining cats and [[SublimeRhyme frogs]]!" This makes the use of the cliché funnier and more interesting.

The name cliché dates back to older printing presses. When each letter had to be individually set, a common phrase would often be cast as a single block piece called a cliché. Such ease of use ended up with authors over-utilizing them to save on costs. The term came to mean the readily available phrase itself before broadening to include any overused element.

See also:
* ClicheStorm - When a work has numerous tropes with a definite pattern.
* DiscreditedTrope - Trope becomes a cliché.
* DiscreditedMeme - Meme becomes overused.
* DeadHorseTrope - Period of trope life cycle when nobody uses a trope seriously anymore.
* DeadUnicornTrope - The cliché is never used seriously, but it never was played straight in the first place.
* GrandfatherClause - Normally DiscreditedTrope or DeadHorseTrope can be played straight in a work which was made when the trope was cool.
* NecessaryWeasel - Illogical trope is a building block of a genre.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny - Quantity or quality of imitators make the work they're based on age badly.
* TropeOverdosed and OverdosedTropes
* {{Troperiffic}} - When a work has fun with playing numerous tropes with a definite pattern.


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