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I'm trying to think of a word that is something along the lines of annoying and ubiquitous or pithy and annoying.

Here is an example context:

Don’t you just hate it when you go to IT and you hear the same old [word] question: “Have you tried restarting your machine?”

Recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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    I think what you are looking for is - cliché... – BiscuitBoy Jan 12 '16 at 10:03
  • @BenjaminHarman, I'm not sure if I want a noun or adjective, either might work. – entpnerd Jan 12 '16 at 15:59
  • @BiscuitBoy cliche fits reasonably well for my question. Thanks. – entpnerd Jan 12 '16 at 16:03
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This is often referred to as a hackneyed phrase. Meaning overworked and tired.

It comes from the time when the horses that pulled Hackney Carriages were worked to death without any thought for their welfare. The word is still in common use to describe anything repeated ad nauseam and "done to death".

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Doesn't it infuriate you when you visit an IT department and all you hear is the same old, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" platitude?

  • Hi, mOriarty, we encourage users to post a reference or link such as platitude with its essential parts in your answer. Please edit your post. Dan Romik's answer is a good example. – user140086 Jan 12 '16 at 13:13
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I propose same old refrain. Merriam-Webster defines refrain as "a comment or statement that is often repeated."

For example:

Don’t you just hate it when you go to IT and you hear the same old refrain: “Please try restarting your machine”?

(Here I changed the quote from a question to the imperative form, since a question doesn't seem to count as a proper example of a refrain.)

In the example context, I think the "annoying" part is implicit. In other situations it might be desirable to clarify it by writing "the same annoying old refrain" (or simply "the annoying old refrain", "the same annoying refrain", or "the annoying refrain"). In general, "same old refrain" seems to already have slightly negative connotations even without being explicitly described as annoying.

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If you are looking for an adjective, consider trite:

  • Trite: lacking in freshness or effectiveness because of constant use or excessive repetition; hackneyed; stale: the trite phrases in his letter.

Don’t you just hate it when you go to IT and you hear the same old trite question: “Have you tried restarting your machine?”

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You could just call it a line, as in something that's commonly repeated, often to the point of having little real meaning. It implies the ubiquity of the phrase, and the annoyingness/insincerity is suggested since it evokes the idea of reading from a script.

Don’t you just hate it when you go to IT and you hear the same old line: “Have you tried restarting your machine?”

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Cliched

This word is often alternatively seen with the accent as "Clichéd". Dictionary.com defines it as:

  1. a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.
  2. (in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.
  3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.

Don’t you just hate it when you go to IT and you hear the same old clichéd question: “Have you tried restarting your machine?”

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