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To the Editor:—
Shamed by your admonitions ("The Cliché," 202: 723, 1967), I have eschewed clichés in writing and speech. The effect of this fastidiousness on the quality of language was gratifying, but communication lost much efficacy, as illustrated by the following episode:The other night at the club, as I was about to order my usual Scotch-on-the-rocks, I bethought myself to replace the worn cliché by a fresh metaphor. Accordingly, I asked for a Scotch-on-the-icebergs. The frozen smile on the waiter's face bespoke no understanding. Simplifying the image, I requested a Scotch-on-the-tinklers. Again, there was no response. Only when, in exasperation, I ordered Scoth-on-the-clinking-marbles did the waiter, displaying comprehension, bring me a drink, which I quickly gulped down. Unfortunately, in the semi-darkness of the clubroom, I failed to notice that the marbles in the glass were not metaphoric.The next few days will determine whether the
Bigg S. Hazards of Declichéfication. JAMA. 1968;203(4):305. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140040057025
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