>Wednesday’s Word: hackneyed. Wat’s it mean?

>I’ve done a few of these wordsmith posts, labeling them “Wat’s it mean?” Today I decided to add the Wednesday’s Word feature, try to make it a weekly thing, and see what the reaction is. Let me know what you think.

Today’s featured word is hackneyed. It has somewhat of a harsh, choppy sound, doesn’t it? It doesn’t flow and brings to mind the sound my granny used to make to clear her throat of phlegm. Okay, maybe I could have spared you that bit, but didn’t you ‘get’ what I meant a little better with the description?

M-W online gives this definition: Lacking in freshness or originality.

Now to use it in a sentence or two:
John gave such a hackneyed performance of Don Correlone that the audience began to laugh.

Hmm. That makes it sound like hackneyed = bad, and it’s really more like hackneyed = trite or boring, so I’ll try again.

The Ad exec’s creativity dried up after the death of his child, his hackneyed ideas finally forcing him into early retirement.

Better?
Writer’s are often labeled as hacks, or their writing hackneyed. Why? Because they rely on cliched (overused) phrases like these:

hard as nails

the lonesome prairie

flat as a pancake
rich as Midas
fat as a pig
the good doctor
old as dirt
and they lived happily ever after

to describe something and the reader has seen them so many times they lack “freshness and originality.” The same holds true for writers who don’t present three-dimensional characters, instead relying on caracatures such as the evil villian, the faithful sidekick, or the wise old crone.

Go go forth and avoid being hackneyed. Write fresh!

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About Annie Rayburn/Carol Burnside

As an author of sizzling romance, Annie takes contemporary settings. and incorporates twists with sci-fi and paranormal elements.
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