When these phrases were first used, we thought they were brilliant and a breath of fresh air. They captured our thoughts perfectly and we fell in love with them. Now, after billions of repetitions, they have lost their luster and have become worn out overtime.
1. In the nick of time.
This means something happened just in time. But you don’t have to use this phrase all the time.
Instead of saying the ambulance arrived at the accident scene in the nick of time, try saying the ambulance arrived at the accident scene just in time.
There are other words you can use to replace this phrase like right on time or at the critical moment.
2. Lost track of time.
This means you stopped paying attention to the time or to how long something was taking. We have something that you can use in its place.
When you want to say: “The seminar was so interesting that I lost track of time”, try saying: “The seminar was so interesting I did not realize how much time had gone.”
It sounds more original.
3. Lasted an eternity.
This refers to something that lasts for a very long time (or that feels like it does). But since everyone kept using it to describe the slightest thing that lasted longer than they could bare the phrase gradually started losing its worth.
4. In a jiffy: This is supposed to mean something will happen soon but we are not sure it does anymore. Can you imagine someone telling you he’ll be back in a jiffy and 2 hours after he isn’t? You immediately begin to ask yourself whether it’s you who does not know what in a jiffy means. Everybody wants to use this phrase but if you know you won’t be back in a jiffy, don’t say you will.
What other phrases that refer to time have become clichés?