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Dying metaphor

 

Techniques > Use of language > Metaphor > Dying metaphor

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

A dying metaphor is one which has become so over-used, it is considered unfashionable or lacking in eloquence to use it. In effect, it is a cliché.

Example

New era business is a whole different ball game.

The President has his hand firmly on the tiller of government and it is now plain sailing.

Thanks -- that's just the ticket, old chap. I'm over the moon about it.

Discussion

Familiarity breeds contempt and the stimulating novelty of a metaphor will eventually wear off when it becomes used so often than it no longer adds variety and stimulation to language.

Clichés do, however, survive for a surprisingly long time as they pass down the pecking order of erudition. Where once a term might be used in high literature, it may at some point no longer be used in such context but transition in term down to tabloid newspapers and common speech.

The term was originally used by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language.

See also

 

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