“Byword (noun): A common saying of proverb, or a much-used word or phrase; widely familiar term; epithet; something or somebody personifying a type, quality, or the like; exemplar or paragon.
‘This, I did not need telling, was Anthony Blanche, the “aesthete” par excellence, a byword of iniquity from Cherwell Edge to Somerville, a young man who seemed to me, then fresh from the somber company of the College Essay Society, ageless as a wizard, as foreign as a Martian.’ Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited”
Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.