List of Cliches Writers Should Avoid

List of Cliches Writers Should Avoid

  • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
  • Abandon ship
  • About face
  • Above board
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder
  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely
  • Add insult to injury
  • Ace in the hole
  • Achilles heel
  • Acid test
  • Actions speak louder than words
  • After my own heart
  • Against the grain
  • Ah, to be young and foolish
  • Airing dirty laundry
  • Al fresco
  • All bets are off
  • All dressed up and nowhere to go
  • All ears
  • All for one, and one for all
  • All hands on deck
  • All hands to the pump
  • All heck (hell) breaks loose
  • All in a day’s work
  • All in due time
  • All over the map
  • All talk and no action
  • All that glitters is not gold
  • All that jazz
  • All the bits and pieces
  • All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of yesterday.
  • All things grow with love
  • All thumbs
  • All wet
  • All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy
  • All’s fair in love and war
  • All’s well that ends well
  • Already got one paw on the chicken coop
  • Altitude is determined by attitude
  • Always a bridesmaid, never the bride
  • Always look on the bright side
  • Am I my brother’s keeper?
  • American as apple pie.
  • Am I talking to a brick wall
  • An angel belongs in the garden
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • An apple never falls far from the tree
  • An arm and a leg
  • An axe to grind
  • An idle mind is the devil’s playground
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
  • Another day another dollar
  • Another nail in the coffin
  • Ants in his pants
  • Any friend of yours is a friend of mine
  • Any port in a storm
  • Anyhoo
  • Anything goes
  • Apple of his eye
  • Are you a man or a mouse?
  • Armed to the teeth
  • Around the horn
  • As all get out
  • As beautiful as the day is long
  • As clear as mud
  • As cold as ice
  • As common as dirt
  • As delicate as a flower
  • As dense as aLondonfog
  • As far as the eye can see
  • As fresh as a daisy
  • As good as gold
  • As hot as hell
  • As honest as the day is long
  • As if
  • As luck would have it
  • As much use as a yard of pump water
  • As plain as the nose on your face
  • As poor as dirt
  • As pure as snow
  • As sensitive as a flower
  • As slow as molasses
  • As snug as a bug in a rug
  • As solid as the ground we stand on
  • As tender as a mother’s heart
  • As the crow flies
  • As useful as tits on a bull
  • As welcome as a skunk at a lawn party
  • As white as snow
  • As ye sow, so shall ye reap
  • Ashes to ashes dust to dust
  • Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies
  • Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country
  • Asleep at the wheel
  • Ass backwards
  • At the bottom of the pecking order
  • At the crack of dawn
  • At the drop of a hat
  • At the eleventh hour
  • At the end of my rope
  • At the end of the day
  • At the last minute
  • At wits’ end
  • Atta boy
  • Atta girl


  • Babe in the woods
  • Beat around the bush
  • Beat it into the ground
  • Beauty is a fading flower
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • Bee in her bonnet
  • Being led down the garden path
  • Bent out of shape
  • Best thing since sliced bread
  • Better late than never
  • Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick
  • Betting the farm
  • Between a rock and a hard place
  • Big as life
  • A bird in the hand is messy
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  • Bite the dust
  • Bit off more than you can chew
  • Bless my bloomers
  • Blood is thicker than water
  • Bloom where you are planted
  • Blow hot and cold
  • Bone of contention
  • Bottomless pit
  • Bowels of the earth
  • Bread and water
  • Bread and wine
  • Break new ground
  • Bring on the sun
  • Bright as a full moon
  • Broad daylight
  • Brought back to reality
  • Brought down to earth
  • Busy as a bee
  • Buy the farm


  • Caked with mud
  • Can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground
  • Can’t tell his ass from his elbow
  • Can’t see the forest for the trees
  • Can’t see the wood for the trees
  • Carrot on a stick
  • Cat’s meow
  • Caught between a rock and a hard place
  • Charm the birds out of trees
  • Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
  • Chip off the old block
  • Chip on his shoulder
  • Closing the barn door after the horse escapes
  • Cold feet
  • Cold hands warm heart
  • Come down to earth
  • Come hell or high water
  • Common garden variety
  • Common ground
  • Comparing apples to oranges
  • Cool as a cucumber
  • Cover a lot of ground
  • Cream of the crop
  • Crows are black everywhere
  • Crushing blow
  • Crying buckets
  • Cultivate the garden within
  • Cut and dried
  • Cut the ground out from under him


  • Dead of winter
  • Dig in
  • Dig it
  • Dig up dirt on him
  • Dig yourself into a hole
  • Digging a hole for yourself
  • Dishing the dirt
  • Dirt cheap
  • Dirt poor, filthy rich
  • Do I look like a turnip that just fell off the turnip truck?
  • Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
  • Don’t have a cow
  • Don’t let grass grow under your feet
  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth
  • Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill
  • Don’t make waves
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
  • Don’t put the cart before the horse
  • Don’t that just butter your grits.
  • Don’t upset the apple cart.
  • Don’t use a lot where a little will do
  • Down to earth
  • Drier than a burnt bush
  • Drive it into the ground
  • A drop in the bucket
  • Dropped like a hot potato
  • Dry as a bone
  • Dumb as a stump
  • Dumber than a bucket of rocks


  • Earth shattering
  • Easier said than done
  • Easy as falling off a log
  • Eat dirt
  • East my dust
  • Every cloud has a silver lining
  • Every dog has his day
  • Every rose has its thorn
  • Every stick has two ends
  • Everything’s coming up roses


  • Face the music
  • Fall on stony ground
  • Fat as a hog
  • Fat as a cow
  • A feast for sore eyes
  • Feeling swamped
  • Feet of clay
  • Fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down
  • Fertile ground
  • Fix his/her wagon
  • Flat as a pancake
  • A flood of tears
  • Flower child
  • Flower of youth.
  • For everything there is a season.
  • For the birds
  • For want of a nail the shoe was lost
  • Fountain of energy
  • Free as a bird
  • Fresh as a daisy
  • From dawn to dusk
  • From feast to famine
  • From small beginnings come great things
  • From the ends of the earth
  • From the four corners of the earth
  • From the ground up
  • Full of piss and vinegar
  • Full of vinegar
  • Funny farm


  • Gain ground
  • Gentle as a lamb
  • Get hold of the wrong end of the stick
  • Get your feet on the ground
  • Get your feet wet
  • Give a little, take a little
  • Give and take
  • Give ground
  • Go climb a tree
  • God’s green earth
  • Go with the flow
  • Green with envy


  • Hard as a rock
  • Kiss and makeup
  • Like a lead balloon
  • Looking like a lost dog in a meat house
  • Lost Cause
  • Moving experience
  • Needle in a haystack
  • Oldie but a goodie
  • On the ball
  • On the fence
  • Paled in comparison
  • Ripe old age
  • Shoulder the burden
  • Sink or you swim
  • Stand in awe
  • Strong as an ox
  • The Acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree
  • The whole enchilada
  • Untimely death
  • Vote with your feet
  • Wise as an owl

 

 

 

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