Definition of proverbial in English:

proverbial

adjective

  • 1(of a word or phrase) referred to in a proverb or idiom.

    ‘I'm going to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb’
    • ‘On campus, they stick out like the proverbial sore thumb because they are the ones with the bandaged fingers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In other words, the government is between the proverbial rock and the hard place.’
    • ‘She looked as though there was something she wanted to say, but either she couldn't find the words or the proverbial cat had her tongue because she didn't say anything.’
    • ‘Conversely, an inconsistency in your essay will stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.’
    1. 1.1 Well known, especially so as to be stereotypical.
      ‘the Welsh people, whose hospitality is proverbial’
      • ‘You don't have to be a Democrat, a liberal, or a socialist to acknowledge that the proverbial wheels are falling off the juggernaut.’
      • ‘I was notorious for talking myself straight into a proverbial brick wall, and that was something I certainly didn't want to do in this situation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's just so much easier to curse like the proverbial inner city sailor than to speak in a traditionally sophisticated and cultured manner.’
      • ‘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-honoured, legendary
      notorious, infamous
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

proverbial

/prəˈvərbēəl/