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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Robinhood, the brokerage that has become a byword for the boom in retail trading, is planning to go public. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Why Robinhood is keeping its IPO filing confidential," 24 Mar. 2021 The actual baron, Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen, had told tall tales about his military career, and his name became a byword for exaggerated claims. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Identity Hoaxers," 16 Mar. 2021 The younger Levy brother, Morris, or Moishe, became a byword for the evils of the mobbed-up music business, exploiting everyone from Frankie Lymon to John Lennon, and eventually getting convicted and briefly imprisoned for extortion. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Saving Birdland—and Jazz History," 4 Mar. 2021 It was organized by Decharme and Valérie Rousseau, senior curator at the Folk Art Museum, and gives further prominence to the useful phrase Photo Brut — rawness is something of a byword in the work here — and seems bound for wider usage. New York Times, "Photography in the Raw," 4 Feb. 2021 Its name, Fast and Furious, became a byword for scandal after one of the guns turned up at the scene of the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Joshua Eaton, The New Republic, "This Beleaguered Federal Agency Is America’s Best Hope to Curb Guns," 25 Dec. 2020 Kenosha, Wisconsin, became a national byword for racial unrest when protests in August erupted in violence. Benny Witkovsky, The Conversation, "Wisconsin’s not so white anymore – and in some rapidly diversifying cities like Kenosha there’s fear and unrest," 4 Dec. 2020 When Netflix and other platforms began dumping entire seasons of shows at once, binging became a byword for paying deep attention, as viewers gave themselves over to intricate drama or quirky comedy. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, "“Emily in Paris” and the Rise of Ambient TV," 16 Nov. 2020 One of its largest cities has become a byword for racial injustice — and for deadly riots. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "From coronavirus to race to the economy, Wisconsin is a microcosm of the forces roiling America," 25 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for byword

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for byword

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Byword.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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