by·​word | \-ˌwərd \

Definition of byword 

1 : a proverbial saying : proverb

2a : one that personifies a type

b : one that is noteworthy or notorious

3 : epithet

4 : a frequently used word or phrase

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Examples of byword in a Sentence

Mom's favorite byword is “You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar”. nationally, Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive has become a byword for luxury retailing

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The story spun here is indeed that of the clan whose name became a byword for world-shattering Wall Street hubris in 2008, when the mighty firm of Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ Is a Transfixing Epic of Riches and Ruin," 13 July 2018 Then again, no other Gilded Age dynasty has ever conjured a vision of wealth quite like the Rockefellers, a surname that still serves as a byword for affluence. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Will the Rockefeller Collection be the First Art Auction to Top $1 Billion?," 11 Apr. 2018 But Pakistan’s army, which fought a 22-month campaign from 2014 to evict militants from North Waziristan, is trying to transform the town from a byword for extremism to a showcase of the stability to which the generals say the country is returning. The Economist, "The Pakistani army has got serious about defeating domestic terrorism," 28 Feb. 2018 After Lorena spent 45 days in a mental hospital, her name long remained a byword — not only for titillation but also for a certain kind of tragedy. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "‘He Could Have Killed Me.’ Lorena Bobbitt on Domestic Abuse and What She Wants You To Know About Her Case 25 Years Later," 22 June 2018 In his remarks, Mr. Carranza repeatedly echoed the mayor in speaking about equity — a byword of Mr. de Blasio’s educational philosophy. William Neuman And Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times, "Trying Again, de Blasio Names a New Schools Chancellor," 5 Mar. 2018 In contrast, the byword for bankruptcy work is transparency. The Economist, "McKinsey manages to get itself sued for racketeering," 19 May 2018 Yet Britain’s utilities and services such as the railways were hardly a byword for efficiency in their state-run days. The Economist, "Corbynomics would change Britain—but not in the way most people think," 17 May 2018 Get our daily newsletter The EU’s budget has often been a byword for mindless subsidy and unnecessary centralisation. The Economist, "The EU’s budget is being dragged into the 21st century," 5 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'byword.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of byword

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of byword was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of byword

: someone or something that is closely connected with a particular quality

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Comments on byword

What made you want to look up byword? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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