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Platitude vs. Cliche: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sara Rehman || Published on November 23, 2023
A platitude is a trite, moralistic statement offering simplistic comfort; a cliché is an overused phrase or idea lacking originality.

Key Differences

A platitude is often a moralistic statement that’s intended to provide comfort or advice but is typically vague and lacks substance. For example, saying “Everything happens for a reason” in response to a difficult situation is a platitude. A cliché, however, is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, like the phrase “love at first sight.”
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023
Platitudes are commonly used in social situations to offer sympathy or encouragement but often come across as insincere due to their overgeneralization, such as “Time heals all wounds.” Clichés can be found in various forms of communication, including literature and speech, and are often criticized for lacking creativity, as in the use of “as busy as a bee” to describe someone very active.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023
In literature, platitudes may be employed to reflect a character's personality or lack of depth. They often indicate a superficial understanding of a complex issue. Clichés in literature or movies, such as the “damsel in distress,” are seen as predictable and unimaginative, detracting from the originality of the work.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2023
The use of platitudes can sometimes be well-intentioned, aiming to offer solace, but they may not always be well-received. They tend to oversimplify situations, diminishing the recipient's feelings or experiences. Clichés, while they can be comforting in their familiarity, are generally seen as a sign of lazy thinking or writing, lacking in effort and thoughtfulness.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023
Platitudes are often associated with moral or philosophical statements that are broadly applicable but offer little practical value. Clichés, on the other hand, are not limited to moral or philosophical contexts and can encompass any overused expression, idea, or element in a story or art.
Harlon Moss
Nov 23, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Trite, moralistic statement often used for comfort
Overused phrase or idea that lacks originality
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Context

Used to offer sympathy or encouragement
Found in various forms of communication
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Implication

Suggests a superficial understanding
Indicates lack of creativity or effort
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Reception

Can be seen as insincere or oversimplifying
Often viewed as predictable and unoriginal
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Scope

Mostly moral or philosophical statements
Any overused expression or idea
Harlon Moss
Nov 23, 2023
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Platitude and Cliche Definitions

Platitude

General enough to apply in many situations.
The platitude “Life goes on” is used in various contexts.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Cliche

Comforting but uninspired.
Describing someone as “as old as the hills” is a cliché.
Harlon Moss
Nov 16, 2023

Platitude

Implies a shallow grasp of complex issues.
“Time heals all wounds” is a platitude that simplifies emotional healing.
Janet White
Nov 16, 2023

Cliche

Lacks freshness and originality.
“At the end of the day” has become a cliché in conversation.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 16, 2023

Platitude

Often offers oversimplified advice.
“Patience is a virtue” is a common platitude.
Harlon Moss
Nov 16, 2023

Cliche

Indicates a lack of creativity.
Using “avoid it like the plague” is seen as a cliché.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 16, 2023

Platitude

Intended to comfort, yet lacks depth.
“Better days are coming” is a reassuring platitude.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Cliche

Common in literature and movies.
The “happily ever after” ending is a storytelling cliché.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 16, 2023

Platitude

Offers little in terms of practical advice.
“Everything happens for a reason” is a platitude with little actionable advice.
Janet White
Nov 16, 2023

Cliche

Not limited to moral or philosophical statements.
The phrase “love at first sight” is a clichéd concept.
Janet White
Nov 16, 2023

Platitude

A trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Cliche

A trite or overused expression or idea
"Even while the phrase was degenerating to cliché in ordinary public use ... scholars were giving it increasing attention" (Anthony Brandt).
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Platitude

Lack of originality; triteness
"a passage of platitude which no critical prejudgment can force us to admire" (Edgar Allan Poe).
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Cliche

A person or character whose behavior is predictable or superficial
"There is a young explorer ... who turns out not to be quite the cliche expected" (John Crowley).
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Platitude

(countable) An often-quoted saying that is supposed to be meaningful but has become unoriginal or hackneyed through overuse; a cliché.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Cliche

Usage Problem Clichéd.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Platitude

(countable) A claim that is trivially true, to the point of being uninteresting.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Cliche

Alternative form of cliché
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Platitude

(uncountable) Flatness; lack of change, activity, or deviation.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Cliche

Alternative form of cliché
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Platitude

(uncountable) Unoriginality; triteness.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Cliche

A stereotype plate or any similar reproduction of ornament, or lettering, in relief.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Platitude

The quality or state of being flat, thin, or insipid; flat commonness; triteness; staleness of ideas of language.
To hammer one golden grain of wit into a sheet of infinite platitude.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Cliche

A trite or obvious remark.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Platitude

A thought or remark which is flat, dull, trite, or weak; a truism; a commonplace.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Cliche

A trite or obvious remark
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Platitude

A trite or obvious remark
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

FAQs

What is a platitude?

A simplistic, moralistic statement used to offer comfort.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

What is a cliché?

An overused phrase or idea that lacks freshness.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2023

How do platitudes function in conversation?

They’re often used to provide comfort or generic advice.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Can platitudes be harmful?

Sometimes, as they can oversimplify complex emotions or situations.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Why do writers use clichés?

Often for ease or because of a lack of more original expression.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

What makes a statement a platitude?

Being a moralistic, often repeated, and oversimplified statement.
Janet White
Nov 23, 2023

What is an example of a platitude in a difficult situation?

Saying “This too shall pass” during tough times.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 23, 2023

Is it possible to reinvent a cliché?

Yes, by giving it a unique or unexpected twist.
Janet White
Nov 23, 2023

Why are clichés frowned upon in writing?

Because they suggest a lack of originality and creativity.
Harlon Moss
Nov 23, 2023

Do platitudes have any positive aspects?

They can offer a sense of shared wisdom, despite being simplistic.
Janet White
Nov 23, 2023

Are platitudes always obvious?

They can be, especially when they offer well-known generic advice.
Janet White
Nov 23, 2023

How do clichés impact storytelling?

They can make a story predictable and less engaging.
Harlon Moss
Nov 23, 2023

Where are clichés commonly found?

In everyday language, literature, movies, and various media.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 23, 2023

Can clichés ever be effective?

Yes, when used sparingly or for a specific intentional effect.
Harlon Moss
Nov 23, 2023

How can platitudes affect emotional support?

They might undermine genuine empathy by being too generic.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

Can a platitude be well-received?

Yes, especially if it aligns well with the listener's beliefs.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 23, 2023

Why might someone rely on platitudes?

For ease of conversation or when unsure of what else to say.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 23, 2023

How can one avoid using clichés?

By striving for originality and creativity in expression.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 23, 2023

Do all cultures have clichés?

Yes, clichés are a common aspect of language in all cultures.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 23, 2023

What's a common cliché in romantic stories?

The notion of “love conquers all” is a frequent cliché.
Harlon Moss
Nov 23, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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