Writing Tip: Don’t Fall for Fraught at the End of the Day

Diane Helentjaris
3 min readMar 21, 2024

The terrors of hackneyed language are real.

Photo compliments of Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I stopped reading the feedback from my writers’ group when I reached the word “fraught.” I had not heard or read that word recently. It sounded fresh and somewhat impressive. Within a week or two, I heard it in a broadcast. Then, like the dandelions springing up in my yard with the incoming spring, “fraught” grew in frequency. “Fraught “is on the radio, in the newspaper, on the television. I believe I have identified a new word fad, the fraught fad. Uh oh. Now it no longer sounds special and is starting to irritate me.

Hackneyed language comes as single words or phrases. It can be idioms, like “raining cats and dogs” which carry a meaning beyond the component words. Phrases might be old and worn out or have a spurt of popularity and then, become overused. “At the end of the day,” according to Grammarphobia, has been around since at least the 1800s. In 2008, it was declared the most annoying cliché in a British survey.

Writers and public speakers who avoid stale words and phrases dodge danger. Overused language has lost its power to vividly communicate, to capture the audience’s attention. There are other pitfalls.

Fad language can date writing. “Totally rad,” “cat’s pajamas,” “a perfect storm,” “living my best life” are all…

--

--

Diane Helentjaris

Writer with a love of the overlooked. Author of the historical fiction novel The Indenture of Ivy O’Neill,.www.DianeHelentjaris.com