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Stereotype Origins and Meaning

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While reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Sidney from Indianapolis, Indiana, stumbled across the use of the term stereotyped notice to denote a printed announcement of a meeting. It’s an example of this word’s earliest sense; stereotype originally referred to a type of metal printing block used to produce multiple copies. The French word for this kind of block is cliché, a word that may be imitative of the clicking sound made by such a device as it prints. Borrowed into English, cliché now refers to a word or phrase that is trite or hackneyed — in other words, something repeated multiple times. This is part of a complete episode.

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