So we’re all on the same page, can we all agree that a cliché is what happens to a fresh, evocative turn of phrase when it goes bad through overuse? The fact of the matter is, I’d die happy (or happier, see my previous post on happiness) if I never heard these sad, tired old clichés ever again. Personally, and to be perfectly honest, I avoid them like the plague, and wouldn’t be caught dead using any of the following:

  • At the end of the day…
  • In any way, shape or form/No ifs, ands or buts
  • Light at the end of the tunnel
  • Connect the dots
  • Between a rock and a hard place
  • I hear you/I hear what you’re saying
  • With all due respect…/If I may be frank…
  • Blue-sky thinking/Thinking outside the box/Taking it to another level
  • Long story short…
  • If I told you, I’d have to kill you
  • The exception that proves the rule/Rules are meant to be broken
  • God moves in mysterious ways
  • It boggles the mind
  • Going forward…
  • At this moment in time
  • A perfect storm
  • Let’s not reinvent the wheel
  • Orange is the new black, 60 is the new 40, etc.
  • It remains to be seen
  • There are two kinds of people in this world…
  • It is what it is
  • On my radar
  • Game-changer
  • Results-oriented
  • World-class
  • Raise the bar
  • It’s not rocket science
  • …to die for
  • Jump the shark
  • Oh. My. God.
  • Whatever

Obviously, what the world needs is a whole fresh set of clichés, starting with “Grab a cactus by the balls.”


Barry Evans gave the best years of his life to civil engineering, and what thanks did he get? In his dotage, he travels, kayaks, meditates and writes for the Journal and the Humboldt Historian. He sucks at 8 Ball. Buy his Field Notes anthologies at any local bookstore. Please.