a word or phrase associated with some person or thing; a characteristic expression, typical greeting, or the like.
a word or phrase used proverbially; common saying; proverb.
an object of general reproach, derision, scorn, etc.:
His crimes will make him a byword through the ages.
an epithet, often of scorn.
Contemporary Examples

Was Rick Santorum Right About Polygamy After All? Justin Miller December 15, 2013
12 Ways Catholicism is More Radical Than Pope Francis Nathan Schneider February 8, 2014
A Horror Story of True-Life Anti-Semitism in France Tracy McNicoll April 27, 2014
Google Invests in Drone Company Airware Quartz May 14, 2013

Historical Examples

A Country Doctor and Selected Stories and Sketches Sarah Orne Jewett
Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
Woman on Her Own, False Gods & The Red Robe Eugne Brieux
England and Germany Emile Joseph Dillon
Discoveries among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon Austen H. Layard
The Soul of a People H. Fielding

a person, place, or thing regarded as a perfect or proverbial example of something: their name is a byword for good service
an object of scorn or derision
a common saying; proverb


Read Also:

  • By-work

    work done in addition to one’s regular work, as in intervals of leisure. Historical Examples The Life of James Renwick Thomas Houston Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 3 of 4: N-R) Various

  • By-your-leave

    an apology for not having sought permission. Historical Examples Kildares of Storm Eleanor Mercein Kelly Planet of the Damned Harry Harrison Sense of Obligation Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison) Despoilers of the Golden Empire Gordon Randall Garrett A Breath of Prairie and other stories Will Lillibridge King–of the Khyber Rifles Talbot Mundy Slippy McGee, […]

  • By-catch

    noun unwanted fish and other sea animals caught in a fishing net along with the desired kind of fish

  • Byam-shaw

    noun Glen Alexander. 1904–81, British actor and theatre director; director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (1953–59) Historical Examples The History of Modern Painting, Volume 3 (of 4) Richard Muther

Disclaimer: Byword definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.