We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Snowclone?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A snowclone is a literary device that involves transforming cliches, axioms and pop culture catchphrases into modern analogies. By substituting a few key words from the original saying, a writer can put a new context on an old concept.

A snowclone can be formed simply by borrowing a timeworn but familiar cliche and injecting the specific topic into its basic syntax. The movie catchphrase "In space, no one can hear you scream," for example, can be turned into a business-related snowclone: "In space, no one can hear you negotiate." The device works in context because the two catchphrases have a common theme; nothing works in a vacuum. The same formula could be used to create other snowclones: "In X, no one can hear you Y."

Other popular catchphrases and axioms lend themselves to the formation. "Pink is the new black," a familiar fashion axiom, is often turned into a political snowclone: "Liberal is the new moderate," among other concepts. The familiar formula "X is the new Y" can be applied to any number of modern ideas which have replaced older ones. As long as the analogy is structurally sound, the phrase works as a form of cultural shorthand between writers and readers.

Critics of the practice consider it to be an easy way out for professional writers, who should not rely on cliches and catchphrases to prove a point. Because there are literally thousands of familiar phrases which could be converted to a snowclone, writers often rely on them as the leads into non-fiction articles: "If the Eskimo language has a hundred different words for snow, why can't business leaders settle on one word for their new policy on tariffs?" "To sell or not to sell? That is the question facing homeowners during times of rampant inflation."

As long as the phrase in question brings clarity and familiarity to the article, writers should feel free to use the literary device sparingly. If the article becomes overloaded with cliches, or the writer uses an obscure or unfamiliar snowclone, then the structure of the piece could be weakened.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to Language & Humanities, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon91874 — On Jun 24, 2010

got snowclone?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to Language & Humanities, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.