The origin of Cliché Day is unknown, but the daily holiday was undoubtedly created to honor clichés, the time-worn, seemingly origin-less expressions in our ready “vernacular repertoire.”
Cliché Day celebrates the hackneyed phrases, metaphors, and idioms we over-use in conversation: “break a leg,” “every cloud as a silver lining,” or “better safe than sorry,” to name a few. Cliché Day celebrants can also use the day to celebrate cliché literary plot devices, movie plots, or musical structures, such as the manic pixie dream girl, the “chosen one,” or the traditional three-part song: verse, chorus, and bridge.
You can choose from hundreds of clichés to honor and celebrate—just be sure to use as many clichés as possible to “cliché the cliché,” so to speak!
Fun Ways to Celebrate Cliché Day
How many clichés can you name?
Do you know their origin stories?
The idiom “break a leg” derives from theater, a well-wish to actors before they go on stage, especially on opening night, or so is commonly believed. The expression has since extended to any event a person is soon to perform in, such as an interview or speech.
According to phrase.org, the phrase “break a leg,” which doesn’t sound like a good luck call, actually derives from theater superstitions, where wishing an actor good luck before a performance was believed to be bad luck, so actors would instead say “I hope you break a leg.”
Have you ever heard the phrase “jump the shark”? The phrase is used to refer to a television show or series that has passed its prime. It was coined during the Happy Days episode when “The Fonz” jumps a shark while water skiing. The episode signaled to viewers and critics that Happy Days had officially overstayed its time, losing its way and running out of ideas.
If you watch a bad show on Cliché Day, be sure to use the phrase! Do you know the origin of the common idiom “let sleeping dogs lie”? According to phrases.org, Chaucer was one of the first to set the notion in print in his work Troilus and Criseyde. It evolved from what was perhaps a warning about “the risk of waking a potentially dangerous animal” into a metaphorical expression similar to "if it ain't broke don't fix it".
How this holiday Unites People
Cliché Day unites the world through language, our unique shared phrases and expressions. You can celebrate by:
Naming all our common clichés and using them as much as possible throughout the day! See how many you’re able to use.
Similarly, try to perform as many cliché behaviors as possible during Cliché Day! If you have a significant other, for example, bring him or her flowers or place a flower in his or her hair while walking down the street in the moonlight. If it’s a rainy day, read a book. If it’s a sunny afternoon, take a walk! Turn your life into a temporary “twilight zone” of clichés.
Watch a cliché movie. Watch a film that features overused plot, scene, or character types, such as the prolific “boy meets girl” movie or the “jump scare” horror movie, or perhaps the “revenge” action flick.
Or you could read a cliché book, such as a dime novel romance story!
If you’re artistic, write a cliché story or song as a fun exercise.