1. A common saying; a proverb; a saying that has a general currency.
I knew a wise man that had it for a byword. --Bacon.
2. The object of a contemptuous saying.
Thou makest us a byword among the heathen. --Ps. xliv. 14
n : a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important
fact of experience that is taken as true by many people
[syn: proverb, adage, saw]
Hebrew _millah_ (Job 30:9), a word or speech, and hence object
of talk; Hebrew _mashal_ (Ps. 44:14), a proverb or parable. When
it denotes a sharp word of derision, as in Deut. 28:37, 1 Kings
9:7, 2 Chr. 7:20, the Hebrew _sheninah_ is used. In Jer. 24:9 it
is rendered "taunt."