Today I was watching a movie - Hacksaw Ridge in which the lead actor flirts with the actress.

The conversation was like this:

He: Ever since you stuck me with that needle, my heart's been beating real fast. Every time I think about you it beats faster still.

Then the actress replies - I never heard that before. It's pretty corny.

The dictionary meaning of word corny is something which is trite, banal, common. The actress first said that she had never heard that before means that was something new for her but then why did she call it corny? Aren't both sentences opposite of each other?

  • Check Cambridge Dictionary – Varun Nair Oct 17 '17 at 13:21
  • @VarunNair Checked but the question still remains same. – user212388 Oct 17 '17 at 13:26
  • Somethings may sound corny, just by the way it is said by the speaker. Although you may have not heard it before, but somethings sound very cheesy if it is said in a particular tone. Maybe she meant that? – Varun Nair Oct 17 '17 at 13:32
  • 1
    Where did you find a dictionary that says it means "common"? I can't find any dictionary that says that. The definitions are usually more like "so simple, sentimental, or old-fashioned as to be annoying" or "trite, banal, or mawkishly sentimental", which fit perfectly. – stangdon Oct 17 '17 at 13:41
  • She could be speaking sarcastically when she says that she's never heard that before. How original of you (not). Or that it's so corny that none of the guys who have hit on her before have used the line, and she's heard some fairly corny lines. Which it is would depend on how she intoned "never" and "pretty", or "that". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 17 '17 at 13:41

Something "corny" to me is something that is cheesy, silly, cliché or overused, normally in a (overly) sentimental way.

Of course, you don't have to have heard the exact phrase before to think that it or its style is any of the above.

A lot of chat-up lines in a bar might be considered "corny" too. "Your eyes sparkle like diamonds" might not win you a date for the night, even if it hasn't been heard before; it's corny!


(a) I've never understood "corny" to mean "common". It means sentimental or melodramatic, in a way that is or borders on silly. It doesn't mean "common" in the sense of a a cliche.

(b) In any case, "I never heard that before" could well be sarcastic. Saying "you make my heart beat faster" to a nurse is probably the sort of line she's heard a million times.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.