Byword

BYWORD (מִלָּה, H4863, meaning word; מָשָׁל, H5442, meaning parable or proverb; שְׁנִינָה, H9110, meaning a cutting word).

When the above Heb. words are tr. as “byword,” it almost always involves a negative context. It is a context of God’s anger focused against a wayward nation of Israel. Psalm 44:14 (NASB) illustrates this well: “Thou dost make us a byword (mashal) among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples.” Other examples of this can be found in Deuteronomy 28:37; 1 Kings 9:7; Job 17:6; 30:9.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)