from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A proverbial expression; a proverb.
- n. An often-used word or phrase.
- n. One that represents a type, class, or quality: "Polyester got its déclassé reputation in the 1970s after cheap, poorly made double-knit leisure suits became a byword for bad taste” ( Fortune).
- n. An object of notoriety or interest: The eccentric poet was a byword in literary circles.
- n. An epithet.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a proverb or proverbial expression, common saying; a frequently used word or phrase
- n. a person who, or a thing that represents something with specified characteristics, byspel
- n. An object of notoriety or contempt.
- n. a nickname or epithet
- n. an object of scorn or derision
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A common saying; a proverb; a saying that has a general currency.
- n. The object of a contemptuous saying.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A word or phrase used proverbially; especially, a saying used in mockery or disparagement; a satirical or contemptuous proverb.
- n. Hence An object of general reproach or condemnation; a common subject of derision or opprobrium.
- n. Synonyms Axiom, Maxim, etc. See aphorism.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people
Middle English byworde, from Old English bīword, translation of Latin prōverbium.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English byworde ("proverb"), from Old English bīword, bīwyrde ("proverb, household word", also "adverb"), from bī- ("by-") + word ("word"); probably a translation of Latin proverbium. Compare also Old High German pīwurti ("proverb"), Old English bīspel ("proverb, example"), bīcwide ("byword, proverb, tale, fable"). More at byspel. (Wiktionary)