Problems with the origins of Frenchism "cliché"

Hello everyone !
Digging a little in the dictionary, I could see that the origins of the Frenchism cliché contains a big mistake and far too many approximations.
Cliché comes from the French word cliché itself derived from the past participle of the verb clicher, until then, everything is fine.
Except that the term cliché used as a synonym for the word stereotype comes from the photographic picture (cliché photographique), even if it more generally refers to any printed copy, because seeing a picture is not the same as seeing the reality.
Moreover, the verb clicher was in typography the simple act of copying a character. Over time, its definition has rounded to give a synonym for "to copy", but this verb has never been a synonym for "to stereotype" as claimed the dictionary.
I therefore ask people concerned about the management of words in the dictionary to kindly change the origins of this word (at least for the translation of the verb clicher). I thank all those who have taken the trouble to read this text.

PS: Because I'm French and non-bilingual, I used Google Translate to write my text (with slight modifications). I apologize for the various mistakes I made.


  • The relevant part of the OED entry reads:

    Origin: A borrowing from French. Etymons: French cliché, clicher.
    Etymology: < French cliché (in printing) stereotype block (1809), (in photography) negative (1850 in cliché négatifin the passage translated in quot. 1850 at sense A. 2), expression regarded as unoriginal or trite (1869), use as noun of the past participle of clicher (in printing) to strike molten metal in order to make a cast (end of the 18th cent.), ultimately of imitative origin (compare similarly cliquer: see click v.1).

    The quotation referred to is:

    †2. A photographic negative. Obsolete.

    1850 T. Cousins tr. G. Le Gray Pract. Treat. Photogr.i. 14 Place the negative cliche upon the lower glass of the pressure frame.

  • SimoneSimone admin
    edited June 2018

    Salut @ERR503
    Thank you for the feedback, we always appreciate it!
    Would you be able to please submit your suggestion for consideration of the OED editors?
    The dictionaries are in constant review, and new evidence of word uses or origins is always welcome.

    Of course, each piece of evidence submitted will be assessed and may or may not lead to dictionary amendments, but any piece of information can be useful to build a case for amending an entry.

    Here is the link for submitting suggestions to the OED."

    J'ai remarqué que vous avez mentionné que vous parlez français seulement, alors voici ma tentative de traduire mon message - toute erreur ou construction idiote est de ma seule faute! :)

    Merci pour le feedback, nous l'apprécions toujours!
    Pourriez-vous soumettre votre suggestion aux éditeurs de l'OED?
    Les dictionnaires sont constamment révisés et de nouvelles preuves d'utilisation ou d'origine des mots sont toujours les bienvenues.

    Bien sûr, chaque élément de preuve soumis sera évalué et peut ou non conduire à des modifications du dictionnaire, mais toute information peut être utile pour justifier la modification d'une définition.

    Voici le lien pour soumettre des suggestions à l'OED.
    (Malheureusement, c'est seulement en anglais.)

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