proverbial

adjective

pro·​ver·​bi·​al prə-ˈvər-bē-əl How to pronounce proverbial (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or resembling a proverb
2
: that has become a proverb or byword : commonly spoken of
the proverbial smoking gun
proverbially adverb

Examples of proverbial in a Sentence

Insanity roamed through her large midwestern tribe, cloistered in proverbial dark closets in gabled houses in areas of the country where no one else lived for miles and miles … Lynne Tillman, Motion Sickness, 1991
I keep running across people who speak fondly about what they imagine to be the comforts of autocracy, who long for the assurances of the proverbial man on the white horse likely to do something hard and puritanical about the moral relativism that has made a mess of the cities, the schools, and prime-time television. Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, November 1990
Recent Examples on the Web At the risk of shaking a proverbial cane and wagging a finger, a similarly sized Subway item is now often more than two or three times that cost. Sydney Lake, Fortune, 5 June 2024 But the proverbial horse was already out of the barn. Glenn Reeves, The Mercury News, 28 May 2024 Trying to make Trump sound like a normal, sane politician is trying to make the proverbial silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Reader Commentary, Baltimore Sun, 4 Mar. 2024 Every October, the Hallmark channel transforms into a proverbial winter wonderland filled with heartwarming holiday movies. EW.com, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for proverbial 

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

Word History

Etymology

see proverb entry 1

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of proverbial was in 1548

Dictionary Entries Near proverbial

Cite this Entry

“Proverbial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proverbial. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

proverbial

adjective
pro·​ver·​bi·​al prə-ˈvər-bē-əl How to pronounce proverbial (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or resembling a proverb
proverbial wisdom
2
: commonly spoken of
the proverbial beginner's luck
proverbially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on proverbial

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