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proverb

[prov-erb]
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noun
  1. a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought; adage; saw.
  2. a wise saying or precept; a didactic sentence.
  3. a person or thing that is commonly regarded as an embodiment or representation of some quality; byword.
  4. Bible. a profound saying, maxim, or oracular utterance requiring interpretation.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter in the form of a proverb.
  2. to make (something) the subject of a proverb.
  3. to make a byword of.
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Origin of proverb

1275–1325; Middle English proverbe < Middle French < Latin prōverbium adage, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + verb(um) word + -ium -ium
Related formsprov·erb·like, adjective
Can be confusedadage aphorism apothegm axiom maxim proverb

Synonyms

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1. aphorism, apothegm. Proverb, maxim are terms for short, pithy sayings. A proverb is such a saying popularly known and repeated, usually expressing simply and concretely, though often metaphorically, a truth based on common sense or the practical experience of humankind: “A stitch in time saves nine.” A maxim is a brief statement of a general and practical truth, especially one that serves as a rule of conduct or a precept: “It is wise to risk no more than one can afford to lose.”

pro-verb

[proh-vurb]
noun Grammar.
  1. a word that can substitute for a verb or verb phrase, as do in They never attend board meetings, but we do regularly.
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Origin of pro-verb

First recorded in 1905–10; by analogy with pronoun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for proverb

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British Dictionary definitions for proverb

proverb

noun
  1. a short, memorable, and often highly condensed saying embodying, esp with bold imagery, some commonplace fact or experience
  2. a person or thing exemplary in respect of a characteristicAntarctica is a proverb for extreme cold
  3. ecclesiast a wise saying or admonition providing guidance
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verb (tr)
  1. to utter or describe (something) in the form of a proverb
  2. to make (something) a proverb
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Word Origin

C14: via Old French from Latin prōverbium, from verbum word
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

Word Origin and History for proverb

n.

c.1300, in boke of Prouerbyys, the Old Testament work, from Old French proverbe (12c.) and directly from Latin proverbium "a common saying, old adage, maxim," literally "words put forward," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + verbum "word" (see verb). Used generally from late 14c. The Book of Proverbs in Old English was cwidboc, from cwide "speech, saying, proverb, homily," related to cwiddian "to talk, speak, say, discuss;" cwiddung "speech, saying, report."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

proverb in Culture

proverb

A brief, memorable saying that expresses a truth or belief, such as “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” (See examples under “Proverbs.”)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.