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