What does the word byword mean?

Usage examples for byword

  1. The latter once was actively represented only by the various Nihilist organizations, but now includes the majority of the urban population, together with many of the nobles who, like Anne's kindred, have suffered, and still suffer so sorely under the iron rule of cruelty, rapacity, and oppression that has made Russia a byword among civilized nations since the days of Ivan the Terrible. – The Red Symbol by John Ironside
  2. And we have a byword in Shainsa: A trail without beginning has no end. – The Door Through Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley