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A catchphrase (alternatively spelled catch phrase) is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Such phrases often originate in popular culture and in the arts, and typically spread through word of mouth and a variety of mass media (such as films, internet, literature and publishing, television such as cartoons and radio). Some become the de facto or literal "trademark" or "signature" of the person or character with whom they originated, and can be instrumental in the typecasting of a particular actor.
According to Richard Harris, a psychology professor at Kansas State University who studied why people like to cite films in social situations, using film quotes in everyday conversation is similar to telling a joke and a way to form solidarity with others. "People are doing it to feel good about themselves, to make others laugh, to make themselves laugh", he said. He found that all of the participants in his study had used film quotes in conversation at one point or another. "They overwhelmingly cited comedies, followed distantly by dramas and action adventure flicks." Horror films, musicals and children's films were hardly ever cited.
The existence of catchphrases predates modern mass media. A description of the phenomenon is found in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds published by Charles Mackay in 1841:
And, first of all, walk where we will, we cannot help hearing from every side a phrase repeated with delight, and received with laughter, by men with hard hands and dirty faces, by saucy butcher lads and errand-boys, by loose women, by hackney coachmen, cabriolet-drivers, and idle fellows who loiter at the corners of streets. Not one utters this phrase without producing a laugh from all within hearing. It seems applicable to every circumstance, and is the universal answer to every question; in short, it is the favourite slang phrase of the day, a phrase that, while its brief season of popularity lasts, throws a dash of fun and frolicsomeness over the existence of squalid poverty and ill-requited labour, and gives them reason to laugh as well as their more fortunate fellows in a higher stage of society.
A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a clan, political, commercial, religious, and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose, with the goal of persuading members of the public or a more defined target group. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines a slogan as "a short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising." A slogan usually has the attributes of being memorable, very concise and appealing to the audience.
Advertising slogans are short phrases used in advertising campaigns to generate publicity and unify a company's marketing strategy. The phrases may be used to attract attention to a distinctive product feature or reinforce a company's brand.
A cliché is an element of an artistic work, saying, or idea that has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning, referring to an expression imposed by conventionalized linguistic usage.
In linguistics, code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals, speakers of more than one language, sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety.
A running gag, or running joke, is a literary device that takes the form of an amusing joke or a comical reference and appears repeatedly throughout a work of literature or other form of storytelling. Though they are similar, catchphrases are not considered running gags.
"D'oh!" is a catchphrase used by the fictional character Homer Simpson, from the television series The Simpsons, an animated sitcom (1989–present). It is an exclamation typically used after Homer injures himself, realizes that he has done something stupid, or when something bad has happened or is about to happen to him. All his prominent blood relations—son Bart, daughters Lisa and Maggie, his father, his mother and half-brother—have also been heard to use it themselves in similar circumstances. On a few occasions, Homer's wife Marge and characters outside the family such as Mr. Burns and Sideshow Bob have also used this phrase.
"A picture is worth a thousand words" is an English language adage meaning that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image, which conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal description.
A snowclone is a cliché and phrasal template that can be used and recognized in multiple variants. The term was coined as a neologism in 2004, derived from journalistic clichés that referred to the number of Inuit words for snow.
A saying is any concisely written or spoken expression that is especially memorable because of its meaning or style. Sayings are categorized as follows:
Blood is thicker than water is a medieval proverb in English that means that familial bonds will always be stronger than bonds of friendship or love. The oldest record of this saying can be traced back in the 12th century in German.
The phrase "said the actress to the bishop" is a colloquial and vulgar British exclamation, offering humor by serving as a punch line that exposes an unintended double entendre. An equivalent phrase in North America is "that's what she said". The versatility of such phrases, and their popularity, lead some to consider them clichéd.
"Holy cow!", an exclamation of surprise used mostly in the United States, Canada, Australia, and England, is a minced oath or euphemism for "Holy Christ!" The expression dates to at latest 1905. Its earliest known appearance was in a tongue-in-cheek letter to the editor: "A lover of the cow writes to this column to protest against a certain variety of Hindu oath having to do with the vain use of the name of the milk producer. There is the profane exclamations, 'holy cow!' and, 'By the stomach of the eternal cow!'" The phrase appears to have been adopted as a means to avoid using obscene or indecent language and may have been based on a general awareness of the holiness of cows in some religious traditions.
Bang for the buck is an idiom meaning the worth of one's money or exertion. The phrase originated from the slang usage of the words "bang" which means "excitement" and "buck" which means "money". Variations of the term include "bang for your buck," "bang for one's buck," "more bang for the buck," "bigger bang for the buck," and mixings of these. "More bang for the buck" was preceded by "more bounce to the ounce", an advertising slogan used in 1950 to market the carbonated soft drink Pepsi.
"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" is an idiomatic expression for an avoidable error in which something good is eliminated when trying to get rid of something bad, or in other words, rejecting the favorable along with the unfavorable.
The phrase "God helps those who help themselves" is a motto that emphasizes the importance of self-initiative and agency. The expression is known around the world and is used to inspire people for self-help. The phrase originated in ancient Greece as "the Gods help those who help themselves" and may originally have been proverbial. It is illustrated by two of Aesop's Fables and a similar sentiment is found in ancient Greek drama. Although it has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the modern English wording appears earlier in Algernon Sidney's work.
"Take me to your leader" is a science-fiction cartoon catchphrase, said by an extraterrestrial alien who has just landed on Earth in a spacecraft to the first human it happens to meet. In cartoons, the theme is frequently varied for comic effect, such as a pun on the phrase to suit the setting, or the alien addressing an animal or object it assumes is an earthling.
"Après moi, le déluge" is a French expression attributed to King Louis XV of France, or in the form "Après nous, le déluge" to Madame de Pompadour, his favourite. It is generally regarded as a nihilistic expression of indifference to whatever happens after one is gone, though it may also express a more literal forecasting of ruination. Its meaning is translated by Brewer in the forms "When I am dead the deluge may come for aught I care", and "Ruin, if you like, when we are dead and gone."
"Nice One Cyril" is a single by Cockerel Chorus written by Harold Spiro and Helen Clarke. The song title is a reference to Cyril Knowles, a left back who played for Tottenham Hotspur. It was released before the 1973 Football League Cup Final where Tottenham played Norwich City. It reached No. 14 on the British single chart after Tottenham won, and its writers Spiro and Clarke received an Ivor Novello Award for Best Novel or Unusual Song in 1974.
"Strong and stable" or "strong and stable leadership" was a phrase often used by the British Prime Minister Theresa May in the run up to the 2017 United Kingdom general election.
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