Posted: 12 October 2014 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  821
Joined  2013-10-14

I just learned that cliché is the French name for stereotype; I never associated the two words in English.
It was only in the 19th century that it was used to mean, hackneyed; a commonplace phrase etc.


Etymology:  French, past participle of clicher, variant of cliquer to click, applied by die-sinkers to the striking of melted lead in order to obtain a proof or cast: see Littré.(Show Less)
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1. The French name for a stereotype block; a cast or ‘dab’; applied esp. to a metal stereotype of a wood-engraving used to print from.Originally, a cast obtained by letting a matrix fall face downward upon a surface of molten metal on the point of cooling, called in English type-foundries ‘dabbing’.

1832 C. Babbage Econ. Machinery & Manuf. xi. 74 A process for Copying, called in France Clichée.
1850 Art Jrnl. 219 Cliché is also applied to the French stereotype casts from woodcuts.
1868 C. Darwin in Life (1887) III. 87 Engelmann has..offered me clichés of the woodcuts.

a. fig. A stereotyped expression, a commonplace phrase; also, a stereotyped character, style, etc. Also collect.

1892 A. Lang in Longman’s Mag. Dec. 217 They have the hatred of clichés and commonplace, of the outworn phrase, of clashing consonants.
1895 Westm. Gaz. 19 Apr. 3/2 The farcical American woman who ‘wakes everybody up’ with her bounding rapidly becoming a cliché, both on the stage and in fiction.
1902 Gosse in Encycl. Brit. XXVIII. 261/1 All but the obvious motives tend to express themselves no longer as thoughts but as clichés.

Posted: 13 October 2014 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  206
Joined  2007-02-13

it’s also the French word for a photographic negative, or in some cases a positive if also transparent.  So if you get your x-ray results, they are “clichés”.
As “A stereotyped expression” French keeps it as an adjective, but this also seems to date from the C19th.
English seems to have grabbed it and turned it into a noun very quickly!

Posted: 15 October 2014 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  2654
Joined  2007-02-19

There’s more: cliché (according to Wikipedia, may its name be blessed, and other sources) is onomatopoeic in origin, apparently from the hissing sound made when the wet mould hit the molten type-metal. And the word “flong” (known to anyone who’s ever had much to do with printing) for the mould, is an Englishman’s parly-voo type distortion of the French word flan (stereotyping was, you will recall, a French invention).

‹‹ e_e      BL: ergonomics ››