- a word or phrase associated with some person or thing; a characteristic expression, typical greeting, or the like.
- a word or phrase used proverbially; common saying; proverb.
- an object of general reproach, derision, scorn, etc.: His crimes will make him a byword through the ages.
- an epithet, often of scorn.
Origin of byword
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for byword
It was a ghastly tragedy that rattled a nation and became a byword for anti-Semitism in France.A Horror Story of True-Life Anti-Semitism in France
April 28, 2014
At a time when “right to work” has become a byword for union-busting, this is radical indeed.12 Ways Catholicism is More Radical Than Pope Francis
February 9, 2014
Syndicated columnist Dan Savage even campaigned to turn “santorum” into a byword for sexual waste as revenge.Was Rick Santorum Right About Polygamy After All?
December 16, 2013
By Leo Mirani Drones have a terrible reputation, mostly because they have become a byword for death and destruction.Google Invests in Drone Company Airware
May 15, 2013
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
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.Virginia Under Charles I And Cromwell, 1625-1660
Wilcomb E. Washburn
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
- a person, place, or thing regarded as a perfect or proverbial example of somethingtheir name is a byword for good service
- an object of scorn or derision
- a common saying; proverb
Word Origin and History for byword
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.