Definition of hackneyed in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈhaknēd/


(Of a phrase or idea) lacking significance through having been overused; unoriginal and trite: hackneyed old sayings
More example sentences
  • It is littered with hackneyed phrases and lazy commonplaces.
  • His boss can take even a hackneyed phrase and let it dangle suggestively in the air until a dozen meanings reveal themselves.
  • Maybe it's time to trot out that hackneyed phrase about ‘the pace of modern life’.
overused, overdone, overworked, worn out, timeworn, platitudinous, vapid, stale, tired, threadbare;
trite, banal, hack, clichéd, hoary, commonplace, common, ordinary, stock, conventional, stereotyped, predictable;
unimaginative, unoriginal, uninspired, prosaic, dull, boring, uninvolving, pedestrian, run-of-the-mill, boilerplate, routine
informal old hat, cheesy, corny, played out


Mid 18th century: from the archaic verb hackney (see hackney), meaning 'use (a horse) for ordinary riding', later 'make commonplace by overuse'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hack·neyed

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.