Idiom vs cliché

Both idioms and clichés are phrases that convey meanings different from their literal interpretations, but they are used in different contexts and have different connotations. Here’s the comparison of Idiom vs cliché:

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Definition: An idiom is a phrase or expression whose meaning is not obvious from the individual words. For example, “break a leg” means “good luck.”

Usage: Idioms are used to add color, emotion, or clarity to language. They can be specific to a culture and often arise from historical events, traditions, or shared community experiences.

Freshness: Idioms can remain fresh and engaging if they are not overused.

Flexibility: Some idioms are fixed, while others can be slightly modified to fit different situations.


  • “Bite the bullet” means to face a difficult situation bravely.
  • “Piece of cake” means something is very easy.


Definition: A cliché is an idiom or phrase that has been overused to the point that it loses its original meaning or impact.

Usage: Clichés are often seen as lazy or uncreative because they are so familiar. However, they can still be effective for quickly conveying ideas that everyone understands.

Freshness: Clichés have lost their originality and impact due to overuse.

Flexibility: Like idioms, clichés can sometimes be modified, but doing so might not restore their lost impact.


  • “Time will tell” means the truth will become clear over time.
  • “Easy as pie” means something is very easy.

Idiom vs cliché

While all clichés are idioms, not all idioms are clichés. An idiom becomes a cliché when it is overused to the point of losing its original impact or meaning. Idioms enrich language by adding color and emotional depth, whereas clichés, due to their overuse, are often seen as lacking in originality.

See also  Phrasal Verbs with Answer

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