by word

byword

[bahy-wurd]
noun
1.
a word or phrase associated with some person or thing; a characteristic expression, typical greeting, or the like.
2.
a word or phrase used proverbially; common saying; proverb.
3.
an object of general reproach, derision, scorn, etc.: His crimes will make him a byword through the ages.
4.
an epithet, often of scorn.

Origin:
before 1050; Middle English biworde, Old English biwyrde. See by (adj.), word


1. slogan, motto. 2. maxim, apothegm, aphorism, saw, adage.
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World English Dictionary
byword (ˈbaɪˌwɜːd)
 
n
1.  a person, place, or thing regarded as a perfect or proverbial example of something: their name is a byword for good service
2.  an object of scorn or derision
3.  a common saying; proverb
 
[Old English bīwyrde; see by, word; compare Old High German pīwurti, from Latin prōverbium proverb]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

byword
O.E. biword "proverb," formed after L. proverbium, or Gk. para-bole.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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