In French, we have the Expression X lave plus blanc which translates word for word as X washes whiter. It comes from old TV advertisements where it was the typical argument to show that a new laundry detergent was better than others. It's now used in every possible way to ironically convey the idea that X is new so it's better.

I don't know an English expression that translates that idea with the same pinch of irony; can someone suggest one?

  • 1
    NB when talking about the annoying interruptions to TV programmes, publicité = advertisements (or "ads" or "adverts" if you're in the UK :-)
    – psmears
    Jun 30, 2011 at 19:07
  • Looks like we once had something similar, though I'm not sure it became an idiom. Also reminds me of this video someone else here linked to a while back. Jun 30, 2011 at 19:13
  • It's the best thing since sliced bread!
    – mkennedy
    Jul 3, 2011 at 0:26

4 Answers 4


Advertisers use "new and improved!" a lot, and sometimes in cases where it's not really true. I've heard people use this phrase ironically, but it depends on context, tone of voice, etc.

  • 1
    In the UK, "New Improved Labour" is a standard ironical term for the Labour Party as 'relaunched' by Tony Blair following the collapse in support for the party through the 80s and 90s. Blair & other 'modernisers' often referenced to the 'relaunched' party as 'New Labour'; it only became a cynical sobriquet when detractors inserted the word 'Improved'. Jun 30, 2011 at 18:56

It's the new black which is pretty similar to "washes whiter".

I believe the origin came from Henry Ford when he could only make black Model T cars and he said he "would make it in any color as long as it's black".


We have exactly the same expression in English. And the origin is the same - there was a British TV series about advertising that used it as its title.

But beware, it's perhaps more often used to refer to "whitewashing" i.e. someone who is very good at covering their tracks. And sometimes it is used for someone who literally makes things cleaner (warning: link not suitable for people with weak stomachs!).

  • Which 'exactly the same' expression? Can you put it in your answer? (Sure it's in the link...put it in your answer, too)
    – Mitch
    Mar 10, 2012 at 18:26

For a while people used to add, ".com!" onto the end of whatever they were saying to give it that irony, but I think that's over now. You could possibly get away with "I saw it on Facebook."

Some of my friends still say, "but its sooo shiny!" in reference to internet technologies that clog up web pages with constantly moving, "flash"-y stuff. It plays on the idea that simple minded people will be attracted to anything shiny and distracting, like a fish follows a lure or something.

We are technology geeks, so these things might not apply to everyone...

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