Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[pruh-vur-bee-uh l] /prəˈvɜr bi əl/
of, relating to, or characteristic of a proverb:
proverbial brevity.
expressed in a proverb or proverbs:
proverbial wisdom.
of the nature of or resembling a proverb:
proverbial sayings.
having been made the subject of a proverb:
the proverbial barn door which is closed too late.
having become an object of common mention or reference:
your proverbial inability to get anywhere on time.
Origin of proverbial
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50; late Middle English word from Latin word prōverbiālis. See proverb, -al1
Related forms
proverbially, adverb
unproverbial, adjective
unproverbially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for proverbial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I know that several of my readers may remind me of Sir Boyle Roche, whose bulls have become not only notorious, but proverbial.

    The Ned M'Keown Stories William Carleton
  • It is proverbial, but the man who is running this game has made it look like a platitude.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • But the impatience of youth is proverbial—than that no more need be said.

    Bats in the Wall P. T. Raymond
  • The Spaniards, who have a proverbial expression for almost every idea, have not neglected this one.

    Bruin Mayne Reid
  • He lost sight of the proverbial influence of one's wishes over one's belief.

British Dictionary definitions for proverbial


(prenominal) commonly or traditionally referred to, esp as being an example of some peculiarity, characteristic, etc
of, connected with, embodied in, or resembling a proverb
Derived Forms
proverbially, adverb
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 proverbial

early 15c. (implied in proverbially.), from Late Latin proverbialis "pertaining to a proverb," from proverbium (see proverb).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for proverbial

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for proverbial

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for proverbial