What does proverbial mean?

Definitions for proverbial
prəˈvɜr bi əlprover·bial

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word proverbial.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. proverbialadjective

    of or relating to or resembling or expressed in a proverb

    "he kicked the proverbial bucket"; "the proverbial grasshopper"

  2. proverbialadjective

    widely known and spoken of

    "her proverbial lateness"; "the proverbial absentminded professor"; "your proverbial dizzy blonde"


  1. proverbialnoun

    Used to replace a word that might be considered unacceptable in a particular situation, when using a well known phrase.

    I think we should be prepared in case the proverbial hits the fan.

  2. proverbialnoun

    The groin or the testicles.

  3. proverbialadjective

    Of, resembling, or expressed as a proverb, cliché, fable, or fairy tale.

  4. proverbialadjective

    Widely known; famous; stereotypical.

    I grew up in a prefab house on Main Street in 1950s suburbia, the second and last child of a proverbial nuclear family.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Proverbialadjective

    Etymology: proverbial, Fr. from proverb.

    In case of excesses, I take the German proverbial cure, by a hair of the same beast, to be the worst in the world; and the best, the monks diet, to eat till you are sick, and fast till you are well again. William Temple, Miscel.

    Despis’d and curs’d Leontius must descend
    Through hissing ages, a proverbial coward. Irene.

    This river’s head being unknown, and drawn to a proverbial obscurity, the opinion thereof became without bounds. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours.

    Moral sentences and proverbial speeches are numerous in this poet. Alexander Pope.


  1. proverbial

    A proverb (from Latin: proverbium) is a simple and insightful, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience. Proverbs are often metaphorical and use formulaic language. A proverbial phrase or a proverbial expression is a type of a conventional saying similar to proverbs and transmitted by oral tradition. The difference is that a proverb is a fixed expression, while a proverbial phrase permits alterations to fit the grammar of the context. Collectively, they form a genre of folklore. Some proverbs exist in more than one language because people borrow them from languages and cultures with which they are in contact. In the West, the Bible (including, but not limited to the Book of Proverbs) and medieval Latin (aided by the work of Erasmus) have played a considerable role in distributing proverbs. Not all Biblical proverbs, however, were distributed to the same extent: one scholar has gathered evidence to show that cultures in which the Bible is the major spiritual book contain "between three hundred and five hundred proverbs that stem from the Bible," whereas another shows that, of the 106 most common and widespread proverbs across Europe, 11 are from the Bible. However, almost every culture has its own unique proverbs.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Proverbialadjective

    mentioned or comprised in a proverb; used as a proverb; hence, commonly known; as, a proverbial expression; his meanness was proverbial

  2. Proverbialadjective

    of or pertaining to proverbs; resembling a proverb

  3. Etymology: [L. proverbialis: cf. F. proverbial.]

How to pronounce proverbial?

How to say proverbial in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of proverbial in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of proverbial in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of proverbial in a Sentence

  1. Pavel Molchanov:

    Oil and gas companies do not want to drill more, they are under pressure from the financial community to pay more dividends, to do more share buybacks instead of the proverbial' drill baby drill,' which is the way they would have done things 10 years ago. Corporate strategy has fundamentally changed.

  2. Steven Mana'oakamai Johnson:

    Just because the reef currently doesn't show any impacts from climate change, it doesn't mean that's going to hold into the future, and so we can't just assume that because no one knew it was there, and when we found it, it was in good shape that it will continue to dodge the proverbial climate bullets.

  3. Bryan benjamin nicholls:

    to men and women alike your age just a number if you love the person for who they are what they are and respect there beliefs and accept them for who they are you love them in short love is all you need in a relationship and throw your age out the proverbial window.

  4. Joseph Ma Pierre:

    If we expect them to ever come out of the proverbial rabbit hole, we have to understand what brought them in in the first place.

  5. Col Robert Lee Maginnis:

    It is the proverbial camel's nose under the tent.Expect much worse denial of freedom to follow.This is especially true as evidenced by the Kremlin's recent decision to clamp down on anti-war protesters.

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Translations for proverbial

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"proverbial." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/proverbial>.

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    interchangeable with `means' in the expression `by means of'
    • A. mitre
    • B. scholastic
    • C. dint
    • D. ditch

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