The final stroke(s) that ensure completion or perfection. The term is derived from painting, that is, the last stroke of the artist’s brush, and was soon transferred to any creative effort, ranging from cake-baking to assembling a costume. Its earliest appearance in print dates from the mid-eighteenth century, and Eric Partridge concluded it became a cliché within a hundred years.
See also: finish
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer