Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

byword

[bahy-wurd] /ˈbaɪˌwɜrd/
noun
1.
a word or phrase associated with some person or thing; a characteristic expression, typical greeting, or the like.
2.
a word or phrase used proverbially; common saying; proverb.
3.
an object of general reproach, derision, scorn, etc.:
His crimes will make him a byword through the ages.
4.
an epithet, often of scorn.
Origin of byword
1050
before 1050; Middle English biworde, Old English biwyrde. See by1 (adj.), word
Synonyms
1. slogan, motto. 2. maxim, apothegm, aphorism, saw, adage.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for byword
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I've heard him say 'All's well' over and over again; 'twas a kind of byword with him.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug Joseph C. Lincoln
  • We have heard of your good fortune on the seas—how your luck has passed into a byword.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • In this respect we are a byword among the peoples of the world.

    England and Germany Emile Joseph Dillon
  • "Go to beat the Dutch" became a byword which has persisted to this day.

  • They will hunt him out of the village, they will refuse him food, they will make him a byword, a scorn.

    The Soul of a People H. Fielding
  • The mistake you made in my name came to be a joke and byword after I went home.

    Janet of the Dunes

    Harriet T. Comstock
British Dictionary definitions for byword

byword

/ˈbaɪˌwɜːd/
noun
1.
a person, place, or thing regarded as a perfect or proverbial example of something: their name is a byword for good service
2.
an object of scorn or derision
3.
a common saying; proverb
Word Origin
Old English bīwyrde; see by, word; compare Old High German pīwurti, from Latin prōverbium proverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for byword
n.

also by-word, Old English biword "proverb," formed on the model of Latin proverbium or Greek parabole. Meaning "something that has become proverbial" is from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for byword

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for byword

15
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for byword