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byword

[bahy-wurd] /ˈbaɪˌwɜrd/
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 of byword
1050
before 1050; Middle English biworde, Old English biwyrde. See by1 (adj.), word
Synonyms
1. slogan, motto. 2. maxim, apothegm, aphorism, saw, adage.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for by-word
Historical Examples
  • But, no; I would not have a scandal afloat, even though I was becoming the laughingstock and by-word of my servants!

    The Sapphire Cross George Manville Fenn
  • The inactivity of our troops had long become a by-word among us.

  • My dun was a peaceful beast, but the roan was a by-word in the sub-division.

    In the Ranks of the C.I.V. Erskine Childers
  • He has now become a by-word as a hypocrite and a merciless self-seeker.

    Slain By The Doones R. D. Blackmore
  • The true source of the Connecticut remained so long in doubt that it passed into a by-word.

  • The bishop had named him Isengrin, the by-word then for wolf.

  • I should return to Argos as a by-word, for the Achaeans will at once go home.

    The Iliad Homer
  • Byron had a club foot in his mind, and so Byron is a by-word.

    The Green Carnation Robert Smythe Hichens
  • The boys remarked that we were going back to water, and which has since been a by-word, whenever a countermarch has taken place.

    Our Battery Orlando P. Cutter
  • The word had been in use so frequently that it had become a by-word among the students.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
British Dictionary definitions for by-word

byword

/ˈbaɪˌwɜːd/
noun
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
Word Origin
Old English bīwyrde; see by, word; compare Old High German pīwurti, from Latin prōverbium proverb
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
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Word Origin and History for by-word

byword

n.

also by-word, Old English biword "proverb," formed on the model of Latin proverbium or Greek parabole. Meaning "something that has become proverbial" is from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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by-word in the Bible

Hebrew _millah_ (Job 30:9), a word or speech, and hence object of talk; Hebrew _mashal_ (Ps. 44:14), a proverb or parable. When it denotes a sharp word of derision, as in Deut. 28:37, 1 Kings 9:7, 2 Chr. 7:20, the Hebrew _sheninah_ is used. In Jer. 24:9 it is rendered "taunt."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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