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A Word A Day — hackneyed

Good evening Netizens...

April 05, 2013

Word of the Day

  • hackneyed
  • audio pronunciation
  • \HAK-need\


: lacking in freshness or originality

The new crime drama's characters are shallow stereotypes who engage one another in hackneyed dialogue.

"Though it has been floating around Hollywood for a few years, and drawn some praise from insiders and would-be insiders, Noah Haidle's screenplay is pretty derivative and hackneyed." — From a review by Philip Martin in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock), February 1, 2013


"Hackney" entered the English language in the 14th century as a noun. Some think perhaps it came from "Hakeneye" (now "Hackney"), the name of a town (now a borough) in England. Others dispute this explanation, pointing to similar forms in other European languages. The noun "hackney," in any case, refers to a horse suitable for ordinary riding or driving—as opposed to one used as a draft animal or a war charger. When "hackney" was first used as a verb in the late 16th century, it often meant "to make common or frequent use of." Later, it meant "to make trite, vulgar, or commonplace." The adjective "hackneyed" began to be used in the 18th century and now is a common synonym for "trite."

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.