hackneyed

by Paul Niquette
Copyright 1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.

 
hackneyed adj Overused and thus cheapened; trite; banal. [Middle English hakeney, a place where horses having a gait characterized by pronounced flexion of the knee and suited for routine riding were raised.]
There are plenty of books around that tell you what words and expressions not to use.  Some, naturally, are in dictionary form.  This is not one of them.  I am not qualified to tell anybody else what words not to use.

Because the word "hackneyed" is used so much in those other books, it too has become to my ear trite and banal -- in a word -- hackneyed.  So I don't use it, that's all.

You do not have to look far to find pedantic proscriptions against all kinds of words and expressions.  A half a dozen supercilious sniffings come readily to mind...

"banality,"
"bromide,"
"clich,"
"commonplace,"
"platitude," and
"truism."
Hah!  Each in its own way has become self-referent.
Thus does "banality" lack both originality and taste, while "bromide" is obvious and dull.  The word "clich," which once was fresh, has become stereotyped through frequent repetition.  By now, "commonplace" is so widely known as to be dismissed at once, along with "platitude," despite its air of significance.  Finally, "truism" is so self-evident as scarcely to need stating.
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