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What is a word to describe a phrase such as "Anything can happen", which is often made in reference to baseball. This is frequently said, but "platitude" and "cliche" aren't the right terms. What type of phrase is this?

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closed as off-topic by Hot Licks, Rathony, Drew, BiscuitBoy, jimm101 Feb 13 at 16:48

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests" – Rathony, Drew, BiscuitBoy, jimm101
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Why is cliché not the right term? – Hot Licks Feb 13 at 1:18
(And, besides, "anything can happen" refers to Wednesday, not baseball.) – Hot Licks Feb 13 at 1:21
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Of the many synonyms on offer, adage is a good fit:

A proverb or short statement expressing a general truth

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It can be described as a set phrase:

  • (grammar) A common expression whose wording is not subject to variation.


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Or a stock phrase, which is actually more common – FumbleFingers Feb 12 at 20:35

I would say that such phrases are hackneyed, which the OED defines as:

7a. To make common by indiscriminate everyday usage; to render too familiar, vulgar, trite, or commonplace. Also with out, about, upon.

But I also see them as platitudes and clichés.

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You might be referring to an idiom:

"...a phrase or a fixed expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. [...] There are thousands of idioms, and they occur frequently in all languages."

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Saying - A common phrase or expression, esp. a proverb, a maxim, an adage (OED).

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I'm rather fond of colloquialism

a word or expression used in casual language by common people.


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You might want to call it pat phrase.

"as we speak" is a pat phrase that means "at this very moment" or "right now." The Grammar Exchange

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