armed, arms race (also overstatement when used figuratively)
arsenal (also overstatement when used figuratively)
back to the drawing board
back to square one
battle (also overstatement when used figuratively)
blueprint for growth
calls it quits
changed his/her life forever
charred rubble (which someone is often sifting or combing through in search of clues)
choked with emotion
cope/deal with grief "Counselors will be on hand to help students ...)
densely wooded area
(American) dream turns to nightmare
emotional roller coaster
every parent's (worst) nightmare
fighting for his/her political life
firestorm/storm of protest/controversy
fled on foot
hammer out (an agreement, contract)
If xyz has his way, ....
in the wake of (unless you're writing about boats)
In what has become ...
kick off (unless you're writing about football)
laid to rest
leafy suburb (and its cousin tree-lined streets)
massive (not only a cliché, but often applied to things that have no mass at all)
Mother Nature's wrath
Move over, xxx.
outpouring of support
packing xx-mph winds
Plans for xyz took a step toward reality ...
rain fails to dampen (anything, but often spirits at a parade or graduation)
rushed to the hospital
send a message
sent shock waves
shocked and saddened/dismayed/appaled
showed no emotion
[decade]something (as adjective or noun)
step down (for resign)
step up (efforts)
storm-tossed (-ravaged, etc.)
struggling to make sense of (a tragedy)
They are (he/she is) not alone.
'Tis the season
tree-lined streets (especially quiet ones)
war-torn (-ravaged, etc.)
Welcome to ...
What began as ... turned into...
What he/she/they didn't know was that ... (well, duh)
- Also see
- External link
More Cliches Than You Can Shake a Stick At, compiled by Mimi Burkhardt, via the American Copy Editors Society