a) innovative . . hackneyed
b) risky . . controversial
c) unusual . . refreshing
d) cerebral . . complex
e) rewarding . . suspenseful
The SAT Question of the Day above turns on a word we find in Harbrace Rule 20c: Choose fresh expressions instead of trite, worn-out ones:
Trite, or hackneyed phrases are those so worn by constant use that they have lost whatever picturesqueness they once possessed. For this reason, we must avoid them.
Trite, or hackneyed expressions:
- red-blooded youth
- busy as a bee
- to point with pride
- last but not least
- it goes without saying
- bite the dust
- breath of fresh air
- smooth as silk
The etymology of the word "hackneyed" is interesting. It probably comes from Hackney in East London, where carriage horses were raised. The word "hack," as in a taxi cab or a banal writer, is a short form of "hackney."
Basically, the history of this word tells us that, if we use our words all day, every day -- the way Londoners used their carriage horses -- our words get worn out and lose their vigor and freshness.
- Let out for hire.
- To make banal or common by frequent use.
- To hire out.
- A breed of horses developed in England, having a high-stepping gait.
- A horse suitable for routine riding or driving.
- A carriage or coach for hire.