by·​word ˈbī-ˌwərd How to pronounce byword (audio)
: a proverbial saying : proverb
: one that personifies a type
: one that is noteworthy or notorious
: a frequently used word or phrase

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
Recent Examples on the Web The riverside market town, Totnes, has become a byword for an outdoorsy, artistic community—catnip to the tourists who bunch around the estate agent windows. Jo Rodgers, Vogue, 3 May 2024 The designer, who became a byword for glamour, was even written into the popular series’ script. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 12 Apr. 2024 Getty Still a byword for effortless elegance, the ruthlessly competitive and deftly strategic queen of Parisian fashion will be played by none other than the Oscar-winning French star of Three Colors: Blue, The English Patient, and Chocolat. Radhika Seth, Vogue, 9 Feb. 2024 But economic depression set in after World War II, and by the 1980s Elefsina had become a byword for environmental damage and urban blight. Tony Perrottet, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Mar. 2024 The Biden administration’s support of worker rights and union organizing has become a byword. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2024 But most of the women shunned their former friend, viewing his actions as uncouth in an era when discretion was the byword of elite society. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Jan. 2024 The Ukrainian suburb of Bucha has also become a byword for war crimes, with reports of indiscriminate shelling and executions highlighting the atrocities of Russian occupation. Molly Stazicker, CNN, 7 Feb. 2024 As a result of heavy-handed and improvident state intervention in the economy for the better part of a century, Argentina has become a byword for economic decline. The Editors, National Review, 23 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'byword.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near byword

Cite this Entry

“Byword.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


by·​word -ˌwərd How to pronounce byword (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on byword

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!