I'm trying to write something for my blog, and I need an idiom that will replace me saying, "I've heard people say that all the time, it's the same old story."

  • 3
    Change the record (a little abrupt) : Macmillan has 'change the record (SPOKEN) used for telling someone to stop talking about the same thing because they are annoying you' Aug 20, 2014 at 21:57
  • If you want to be a little more original you could borrow the Italian idiom E' sempre la solita minestra which means: "It's always the same soup/pasta dish" :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 20, 2014 at 23:13
  • 2
    That particular dead horse has been kicked around the block a few times. Aug 21, 2014 at 0:05

17 Answers 17


Consider clichéd, meaning “repeated so often that it has become stale or commonplace; hackneyed” – wiktionary and trite, meaning “Worn out; hackneyed; used so many times that it is no longer interesting or effective (often in reference to a word or phrase)” – wiktionary.


You sound like a broken record.

to say the same thing over and over again. (Fig. on a scratch in a phonograph record causing the needle [or stylus] to stay in the same groove and play it over and over.) Last edited by Grefsen; 4th August 2013 at 9:59 PM. Re: sounding like a broken (scratched) record.

  • This is appropriate if it's the same person, but not if it's just common more generally.
    – Barmar
    Aug 25, 2014 at 19:38

According to Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997), one potentially relevant idiom is "old chestnut":

old chestnut A stale joke, story, or saying, as in Dad keeps on telling that old chestnut about hgow many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb. This expression comes from William Diamond's play, The Broken Sword (1816), in which one character keeps repeatingthe same stories, one of them about a cork tree, and is interrupted each time by another character who says "Chestnut, you mean ... I have heard you tell the joke twenty-seven times and I am sure it was a chestnut."

So you could replace "I've heard people say that all the time, it's the same old story" with "That old chestnut again!"

  • 2
    +1 Very nice to get the history of the idiom :) I'm not sure we ever really use the word again with it though. Aug 21, 2014 at 13:02
  • I think you're right, Araucaria, that the idiom generally appears without again. I just ran a Google Books search for "that old chestnut again" and found 64 relevant matches since 1950—but only one match before 1950. I'm sure that occurrences of the phrase "that old chestnut" without again are many times more common, even in the past 50 years.
    – Sven Yargs
    Aug 21, 2014 at 14:38

The phrase is tired or well-worn or old hat or...


There is nothing new under the sun may convey the idea you want to express:

  • Everything that is happening now has happened before. The newspaper today is shocking. Three prominent politicians have been convicted of fraud. Jane: That's not shocking. It only proves that there's nothing new under the sun.



There is an idiomatic phrasal verb that you can use and rephrase your sentence accordingly.

It is wheel out.

to mention or to use someone or something that has been mentioned or used many times before, often so many times that people are now bored with them

They still wheel her out at every party conference.


(wheel something on/out) informal Produce something that is unimpressive because it has been frequently seen or heard before:

the old journalistic arguments have been wheeled out



To the extent that you wish to convey a boring repetition of well known material, consider yadda yadda yadda (or yada yada yada)

Used as a substitute for actual words where they are too lengthy or tedious to recite in full: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, yadda yadda yadda [Oxford Dictionary Online]

Similarly blah blah blah [Dictionary.com]

You might say

It's the same old yadda yadda yadda.


An "old saw" is an oft-repeated to the point of being somewhat tiresome idea or maxim. It's well known enough that UPenn doesn't mind using it as the title of a translation of a Kant essay... http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/997.html


Reading your question brings to my mind the expression:

If I had a dime for every time I heard that one I'd be rich by now.

or some more clever, funny outcome.

See http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=If%20I%20had%20a%20dime%20for%20every%20time for more examples.

  • 5
    If I had a dime for every time I heard If I had a dime ...
    – bib
    Aug 21, 2014 at 16:42

In some contexts, "been there, done that, wore the shirt" is a common way to express that a suggestion has been tried so often that it's almost a trope by now.

been there, done that, bought the T-shirt

(idiomatic, humorous) Expresses the speaker's complete familiarity with a situation, with overtones of cynicism or exhaustion.

(Used in slightly different phrasing on Wiktionary than I usually see.)


If it's essentially the same, with only trivial variations. then you can go with:

Same shit different day


Also consider old bromides and old platitudes as terms for often-repeated phrases or stories.

From wiktionary, bromide means “A platitude [eg] We hoped the speech would include reassurances, but instead it was merely one bromide after another”.

Also from wiktionary, platitude means “An often-quoted saying that is supposed to be meaningful but has become unoriginal or hackneyed through overuse; a cliché”.

A somewhat-clichéd phrase sometimes used with bromides is “trotting out all the old bromides”. Here are three examples:

• ... these same people trot out all the old bromides that have held women back for years ... [washingtonpost.com, 16 Sept 2008 letters, Sandy Miller]
• ... When Governor Christie claims “We can’t afford it” ... public employees ... latch onto the ‘it’ part and trot out the old bromides: ... [burypensions.wordpress blog, 31 July 2014]
• You can even trot out that old bromide about skybusters ruining the shooting for you steady types, and he'll say, isn't it a shame. [Field & Stream, Feb 1969, p. 20]


I always liked Yogi Berra's "It's déjà vu all over again." It really builds in the sense of repetitiveness.

  • Thanks for the smile, Nancy. Having no idea who Yogi Berra was, I Googled and found a few quotes.
    – user63230
    Aug 27, 2014 at 23:37

... or old news or yesterday's news or ...


For a less derisory and more literal term, you could use oft

oft adj. archaic or literary form of often.

The politician used the oft repeated, but misinformed factoid, that global temperatures haven't increased in 17 years.

Consider also: often said, oft cited.


"Oy vey again!", comes to mind too.


Another possibility beyond the excellent ones already mentioned is to say, "I've heard it ad nauseaum", which idiomatically and literally (well, once you translate the Latin) means "I've heard it enough to cause nausea."

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