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Cookie cutters.



  1. (primarily used attributively) Alternative form of cookie cutter
    • 1916, ad in The Ladies' Home Journal, volume 33, page 87:
      Let Us Send You a Trial Package
      Ten cents (stamps or coin) will bring you a One-Cake package, enough for a nice “company cake," and we will include a 10c Dromedary Cookie-Cutter and a Cook Book of Choice Cocoanut[sic] Recipes.
      The Hills Brothers Co. Dept. B, 375 Washington Street New York
    • 1986, Deniece Schofield, Escape from the Kitchen, →ISBN:
      Cookie cutters and cake-decorating tools are boxed separately in plastic containers (with lids) so I can stack them up. If you have a large cookie-cutter collection, separate them by holiday or season and package in separate smaller boxes and don't forget to label them accordingly.
    • 2002, Mary Engelbreit, Christmas with Mary Engelbreit: Here Comes Santa Claus, →ISBN, page 96:
      For platters of good-looking holiday tea sandwiches, look in your cookie-cutter drawer.
    • 2013, Rom Harre, Great Scientific Experiments: Twenty Experiments that Changed our View of the World (Courier Corporation, →ISBN):
      In the passive condition the hand was held palm upwards and the cookie-cutters were pressed on to the sensitive skin of the palm. In the active condition it was the finger tips which were mainly in contact with the cookie-cutter.


cookie-cutter (comparative more cookie-cutter, superlative most cookie-cutter)

  1. (figuratively, often derogatory) Looking or seeming identical; created by some standard or common means, often with the implication that the result is common, boring, or not applicable to all needs.
    The subdivision was nothing but row after row of cookie-cutter houses.
    I don't think a cookie-cutter solution will work in all cases.
    • 1927, Alfred Emanuel Smith, New Outlook[1], volume 145:
      Nothing that the uniformity-haters can say is beyond the mark; there is an appalling degree of sameness, of cookie-cutter character and outlook, stamped out with neatness, regularity, and despatch.
    • 1933, The Universalist Leader[2], volume 36:
      Our attempt to apply a cookie-cutter to it has landed us in our present morass, and we are floundering aimlessly in this morass because we refuse to admit the obvious fact that our cookie-cutter point of view is all awry
    • 1969, Bureau Publication[3]:
      Whether we call it a culture or a subculture, it is always important to avoid the cookie-cutter view of culture, with regard to the individual and to the culture or subculture involved. With regard to the individual, the cookie-cutter view assumes that all individuals in a culture turn out exactly alike, as if they were so many cookies.
    • 1997, Herb Miller, Leadership is the Key: Unlocking Your Effectiveness in Ministry[4], page 39:
      All clergy need to know the basics of Bible, theology, Christian education, and church history. Their training is therefore more cookie-cutter than individualized.
    • 2004, Lisa Gardner, The Other Daughter[5], page 214:
      “Everything we do is planned and predictable. In the end, medicine is much more cookie-cutter than doctors care to admit, and we can exploit that.”
    • 2006, Brave New Universe: Illuminating the Darkest Secrets of the Cosmos[6], page 195:
      Yet nature's artisan seems to have crafted untold quantities of protons (and other elementary particles) with identical rest masses. They are infinitely more “cookie cutter” than anything in a cookie manufacturer's wildest dreams.
    • 2007, Michael D'Souza, “‘Growing up, I stuck out like a sore thumb’”, in The Financial Times[7]:
      I wanted to find somewhere to live that was unique because everything is very cookie-cutter if you go down most residential streets of Victorian terraces.
    • 2008, C. Robert Cargill, “On DVD: Picture This! Is So Cookie-Cutter It Hurts”, in MTV news[8]:
    • 2008, Nick Symmonds, Internationalization and Localization Using Microsoft .NET[9], page 144:
      This is so cookie-cutter that you should have no errors. You have yet to type any code!
    • 2012, Kenneth L. Fisher, Plan Your Prosperity: The Only Retirement Guide You'll Ever Need, Starting Now–Whether You're 22, 52 or 82[10], page 52:
      One input and only one input matters–your birth year. You can't get much more cookie-cutter than that.
    • 2013, Maddy Berner, “Does Arlington's Dating Scene Need More Variety?”, in ARLnow[11]:
      “I think Arlington is very cookie cutter,” she said. “I think you find that the same type of people have the same type of conversations with people over and over again.”
    • 2013, Nina Berry, Othersphere[12], page 57:
      The trees were smaller, the houses newer, and thus even more cookie-cutter than I was used to.
    • 2014, Carol Blitzer, “No cookie-cutter homes here”, in Palo Alto Weekly[13]:
      “This was an opportunity to imagine something different,” Spiegel said. “It's all about patterns of living. The way people are building houses is so cookie-cutter.”
    • 2018, Christopher Phillips, A Child at Heart: Unlocking Your Creativity, Curiosity, and Reason at Every Age and Stage of Life[14], page 138:
      He was sad the most everything done by tailors these days is so cookie-cutter, like it all came off the assembly line.
Usage notes[edit]

First used only in attributive position and without degrees of comparison (from the 1920s); then used freely in predicate position (from the 1990s). Some speakers avoid using it in the predicate position.

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]