proverbial

[pruh-vur-bee-uh l]
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adjective
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a proverb: proverbial brevity.
  2. expressed in a proverb or proverbs: proverbial wisdom.
  3. of the nature of or resembling a proverb: proverbial sayings.
  4. having been made the subject of a proverb: the proverbial barn door which is closed too late.
  5. having become an object of common mention or reference: your proverbial inability to get anywhere on time.

Origin of proverbial

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English word from Latin word prōverbiālis. See proverb, -al1
Related formspro·ver·bi·al·ly, adverbun·pro·ver·bi·al, adjectiveun·pro·ver·bi·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for proverbial

proverbial

adjective
  1. (prenominal) commonly or traditionally referred to, esp as being an example of some peculiarity, characteristic, etc
  2. of, connected with, embodied in, or resembling a proverb
Derived Formsproverbially, 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

Word Origin and History for proverbial
adj.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper