from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A phrase or sentence made by substituting one or more words in a cliché, existing set phrase, or well-known sentence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A type of cliché which uses an old idiom formulaically in a new context.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From an allusion to an example of such a phrase based on the popular notion that the Eskimos have many words for snow.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Blend of snow cone and clone, after the popular idea that Eskimos have a large number of words for different types of snow; coined by Glen Whitman in response to Geoffrey Pullum on the blog Language Log.


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  • (n) : a type of formula-based cliché which uses an old idiom in a new context, especially in journalism; for example "X is the new Y" or "It's X, but not as we know it"


    July 20, 2007

  • I'm really starting to dislike the "X is the new Y" cliche.

    July 20, 2007

  • "is" as the basic structure of associative programming. "new" is just the bling to the most simple code ever, "(with event) x ~= (think about) y". (note the use of aboutequals). suggestions, unintentional or otherwise...

    July 20, 2007

  • "The continued reign of the "new black" snowclone dismays language watchdogs, in part because, like all cliches, it makes for mediocre writing and mediocre thinking. It also betrays a fetish for the new, and the new new. But there are signs that the trope has reached a level of terminal self-consciousness. Casual examination of the year in "new" betrays at least a couple of snowclones coined in a spirit of linguistic pranksterism, the results meant to explode the cliche through their own absurdity — in what way, exactly, is Christmas the new awesome?"

    - 'Milk is the new oil, Iraq is the new Korea … enough already!', Drake Bennett, 3 Jan 2008.

    January 3, 2008

  • Idiom that has passed though a meme phase. E.g., X is the new Y. I am not an X but I play one on TV.

    July 5, 2009

  • X is the new Y!

    X 2: Electric Bugaloo

    The source being "The X have Y words for Z" (where the high number of words Y is supposed to demonstrate that the people X care a lot about some subject Z, such as, "Eskimos have a hundred words for snow.")

    August 23, 2009