What does your favourite cliché really mean?

What does your favourite cliché really mean?

Today is International Cliché Day. So, remember that actions speak louder than words, especially when the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Dont judge a book by cover

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a cliché is: "a saying or remark that is very often made and is therefore not original and not interesting."

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Minnie Ntuli says her favourite cliché is "what goes around comes around" and we're not about to find out why.

But do you know where your favourite or most used cliché comes from? We uncovered the true meaning behind some of the most common clichés.

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Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning to reveal information to someone else who did not have this information.

There are two possible origins for this phrase: first is the reference to a cat-o'-nine-tails whip, which was used on the Royal Navy ships as a form of punishment. When a sailor would snitch on a fellow sailor, they were said to let the cat out of the bag.

The second explanation refers to a common scam where people were under the impression that they had bought a piglet, but would only realise when opening the bag that it was a cat instead.

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Paint the town red

Are you ready to have some wild and extravagant fun? Then this is the phrase for you.

The origin of this cliché dates back to a fateful night in 1837 when a very specific group of friends, led by the Marquess of Waterford, went out to party.

During the drunken revelry, they vandalised an English town by breaking windows, knocking over flowerpots, and they literally painted several doors, a statue, and a tollgate red.

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And last but not least: Long in the tooth

Used when referring to an older person, this phrase actually finds its origin from a totally different animal.

Human teeth stay the same length, but horses' teeth will continue to grow as they age and can even be used to determine how old they are, leading to the birth of the phrase.

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Main image courtesy of iStock

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