Definition of proverbial in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈvərbēəl/


1(Of a word or phrase) referred to in a proverb or idiom: I’m going to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb
More example sentences
  • On campus, they stick out like the proverbial sore thumb because they are the ones with the bandaged fingers.
  • In other words, the government is between the proverbial rock and the hard place.
  • The title of the movie refers to the proverbial elephant in the living room - the big problem that is ignored for so long that people are no longer able to recognize it.
1.1Well known, especially so as to be stereotypical: the Welsh people, whose hospitality is proverbial
More example sentences
  • You don't have to be a Democrat, a liberal, or a socialist to acknowledge that the proverbial wheels are falling off the juggernaut.
  • For those who may have been living under the proverbial rock, Andy Warhol is perhaps the most well-known American artist of the twentieth century.
  • Taken at face value, the question seems simple enough but scratch it and the hidden prejudices and stereotypes tumble out of the cupboard like the proverbial skeletons.
well known, famous, famed, renowned, traditional, time-honored, legendary;
notorious, infamous



Pronunciation: /-ˌvərbēˈalətē/
Example sentences
  • There was no ‘general collapse of proverbiality’ and no ‘nearly complete blackout’ of proverbs, and, as will be shown in this present study, not even Lord Chesterfield himself could escape the spell of proverbs.
  • This is cited as farm wisdom, and there is no reason to doubt its proverbiality, although a few more references would be welcome.


Pronunciation: /prəˈvərbēəlē/
Example sentences
  • This study holds that around the time of marriage, happiness increases briefly during what is proverbially called the honeymoon period, but that after one year it returns to the level that prevailed more than one year before marriage.
  • She sums up her social experience by saying proverbially, ‘The poorer you are, the happier you are.’
  • Traditional, local institutions were thought to be the solution to what is proverbially known as ‘the tragedy of the commons.’


Late Middle English: from Latin proverbialis, from proverbium (see proverb).

Words that rhyme with proverbial


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·ver·bi·al

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