Ask Your Question

Well-known phrases

asked 2015-03-19 15:09:21 -0400

anonymous user


What is it called when someone only uses part of a well-known phrase, assuming the reader/listener knows the rest of the phrase that has been omitted?

Example: Saying, ''She made her bed.'' instead of saying ''She made her bed, now she has to lie in it.''


(Transferred from old LINGUIST List Ask-a-Linguist site)

edit retag flag offensive close merge delete

2 answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted

answered 2015-03-22 20:49:40 -0400

Loro gravatar image

Since "cliche" originates from the lead poured font used over and over to print the letter or symbol and is fragile. How about "broken cliche"?

edit flag offensive delete link more

answered 2015-03-19 15:10:08 -0400

anonymous gravatar image

I'm not aware of any particular term for this phenomenon, though I know the reality that you are talking about.

Geoffrey Sampson

This would be an example of ellipsis. This term describes the omission of “given” information, which in turn refers to knowledge assumed to be shared by participants in an exchange. “Given” information and its counterpart, “new” information, are also technical terms in linguistics.

Ellipsis contributes to discourse cohesion and economy in that it takes into account what participants know about the/their world, about each other, and about the context of the exchange itself.

Madalena Cruz-Ferreira

edit flag offensive delete link more
Login/Signup to Answer

Question Tools

1 follower


Asked: 2015-03-19 15:09:21 -0400

Seen: 636 times

Last updated: Mar 22 '15