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Definition of "byword" [by•word]

  • A proverbial expression; a proverb. (noun)
  • An often-used word or phrase. (noun)
  • One that represents a type, class, or quality: "Polyester got its déclassé reputation in the 1970s after cheap, poorly made double-knit leisure suits became a byword for bad taste” ( Fortune). (noun)
  • An object of notoriety or interest: The eccentric poet was a byword in literary circles. (noun)
  • An epithet. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "byword" in a sentence
  • "March 2nd, 2009 at 7: 50 pm antisera apart appropriation bankrupts begin byword counterparts coupler cranes devotedly Egyptian ellipse elm Epicurean Kidde miscarriage pixel rightfulness Samuels shutout Sonora substrate toughness buy generic viagraC/a absenteeism countess curious founts gab perusers playhouse prototypically summation."
  • "The "Manchester school" of political economy has long since passed into reproach if not obloquy with people for whom a byword is a potent weapon, and perhaps the easiest they can handle, and"
  • "'All's well' over and over again; 'twas a kind of byword with him."