Corny / Trite / Hackneyed

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Senior Member
Hello everyone. Please, could you try to explain the difference between the words "corny", "trite" and "hackneyed"?

From their definitions it seems to me that all of them mean something is repeated way too often + corny has a connotation of something being silly, trite has a connotation of something being insincere and hackneyed has a connotation of something being meaningless and mindlessly repeated? Do I understand it right?

What's your opinion on that? How would you differentiate them?

Thank you in advance for your help.
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The use depends on the context. They all have an overlap.

    I think you are right with corny: it is "silly" in the sense of innocent or naïve because it has been done may times before and is old-fashioned or no longer done.
    Trite is certainly negative "John is full of trite advice." reflects upon John as much as the unimaginative, tired advice that lacks any novelty.
    Hackneyed give the idea of worn out by constant, regular use in a mundane way. (Strangely, this is an old, non-figurative meaning of trite. Trite can be applied to anything (but usually clothes) that wears out through constant use.)
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