I've been struggling with thesauri, learned friends, and hopeless google searches.

The word I'm looking for describes a 'go-to' example or conventionally used style that isn't official. Something like 'traditional' but less to do with history and more to do with popularity. So far the word 'canonical' seems the closest in meaning but it seems a bit too specific or formal for the context. The example of sentences I swear I remember hearing the word in are of this form:

"The _____ fun fact about hippos being the most dangerous animals in Africa".

"The _____ red-and-white-checkered picnic blanket".

"The _____ variable name 'i' used to iterate in programs"

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I worry that I'm simply making this word up but it feels like it's just on the fringes of being remembered.

  • Archetypal? Obligatory? Jul 19, 2016 at 7:09
  • I think that each of your examples is best suited to a different word. "canonical" works best for the hippos, "archetypal" for the blanket and "conventional" for the variable name. I don't think it's wise to try to find a single word which fits all cases. Jul 19, 2016 at 8:01
  • "Bog standard" is my go-to term. Have no idea what the origin of that term is, though.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 19, 2016 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


Consider classic.

Classic adjective
2 Very typical of its kind: Hamlet is the classic example of a tragedy - ODO


I think conventional conveys the idea you are referring to:

  • based on or in accordance with what is generally done or believed:.

  • (Of a person) greatly or overly concerned with what is generally held to be socially acceptable.


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