[ pruh-vur-bee-uhl ]
See synonyms for proverbial on
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a proverb: proverbial brevity.

  2. expressed in a proverb or proverbs: proverbial wisdom.

  1. of the nature of or resembling a proverb: proverbial sayings.

  2. having been made the subject of a proverb: the proverbial barn door which is closed too late.

  3. 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

Other words from proverbial

  • pro·ver·bi·al·ly, adverb
  • un·pro·ver·bi·al, adjective
  • un·pro·ver·bi·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use proverbial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for proverbial


/ (prəˈvɜːbɪəl) /

  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 forms of proverbial

  • 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