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The word "snowclone" was coined to describe precisely this kind of templatized-cliche, first promulgated by LanguageLog: At last a suitable name has been proposed for the some-assembly-required adaptable cliché frames. I mean formulae like these (where the N, X, Y, Z are filled in to taste): If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have Y words ...


He doesn’t use it in quite the same way as what you want, but in his The Devil’s Dictionary Ambrose Bierce coined a phrase that may serve, which I have emphasized in this quote: SAW, n: A trite popular saying, or proverb. (Figurative and colloquial.) So called because it makes its way into a wooden head. Following are examples of old saws fitted with ...

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