catchword


catchword
catchword, byword, shibboleth, slogan mean a phrase that catches the eye or the ear and is repeated so often that it becomes a formula.
Catchword usually applies to a phrase that serves as the formula or identification mark of an emotionally charged subject (as a school of thought, a political party, or a cause) and that is often used by those who have only a superficial knowledge of the subject and its philosophy and basic tenets
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"the new deal" became the catchword of supporters and critics of Franklin Roosevelt as "the square deal" was that of the friends and the enemies of Theodore Roosevelt

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man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by catchwordsStevenson

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these catchwords which you repeat when people ask you for intelligence— Masefield

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Byword sometimes denotes a significant phrase that is repeated far and wide until it has become a proverb
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the old byword of necessity being the mother of invention— Kroeber

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The more usual sense is a person or thing that has become proverbial as the type of certain evil, ludicrous, or shameful characteristics and whose name, therefore, has become the object of concentrated scorn or contempt
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I had disgraced that name eternally. I had made it a low byword among low people— Wilde

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even those public departments that were bywords for incompetence and red tape were far more efficient than the commercial adventurers who derided them— Shaw

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Emerson . . . was still an impossible puzzle in the popular mind, even a national joke, a byword of the country paragraphers— Brooks

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Shibboleth was the word which, in Judges 12, the Ephraimites fleeing from the Gileadites could not correctly pronounce when tested, thus giving away their identity to Jephthah as his enemies; it typically applies to a fixed usage (as a word, phrase, or speech sound) whose employment identifies a person as belonging to a particular party, class, profession, ethnic group, or time. The term basically stresses help in placing a person
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a child who . . . has not yet learned sufficiently well the phonemic shibboleths, the arbitrary sound-gamuts, which his society insists upon— La Barre

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our listeners type us—stereotype us— according to the impression they gain from our verbal habits . . . every word we speak is a shibbolethG. A. Miller

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but may also imply the emptiness and triteness of such usage and then approach platitude in meaning
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some truth in the shibboleth that crime does not pay— Rogow

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Slogan, originally a cry used in battle, has come to mean a phrase that is a shibboleth of the party or group using it
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that was in fact the position that the Dadaists took up. "Art is a private matter: the artist does it for himself' was one of their slogansDay Lewis

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It may be a phrase deliberately invented for the sake of attracting attention to a party or group
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a slogan ... is a short message designed to be repeated over and over again, word for word— Kleppner

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traditional schoolbook platitudes and campaign slogansFrankfurter

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or it may be an eyecatching or ear-catching bit used as an advertising device
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the Heinz "57 Varieties" label. . . provided the company with both a trademark and an advertising sloganCurrent Biog.

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Analogous words: caption, legend (see INSCRIPTION): *phrase, expression, idiom: *commonplace, platitude, truism, bromide, cliché

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Catchword — is also a name for a headword in a dictionary. : For the game show, see Catchword (game show). A catchword is a word placed at the foot of a handwritten or printed page that is meant to be bound along with other pages in a book. The word… …   Wikipedia

  • Catchword — Catch word , n. 1. Among theatrical performers, the last word of the preceding speaker, which reminds one that he is to speak next; cue. [1913 Webster] 2. (Print.) The first word of any page of a book after the first, inserted at the right hand… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • catchword — noun adage, byword, catch phrase, clew, cliche, clue, colloquialism, common saying, cue word, key, maxim, mot, password, pithy saying, saying, shibboleth, slogan, stock saying, tag, vogue word, watchword associated concepts: trademarks Burton s… …   Law dictionary

  • catchword — (n.) 1730, the first word of the following page inserted at the lower right hand corner of each page of a book, from CATCH (Cf. catch) (v.) + WORD (Cf. word) (n.); extended to word caught up and repeated (especially in the political sense) by… …   Etymology dictionary

  • catchword — [n] motto byword, catchphrase, household word, maxim, password, refrain, shibboleth, slogan, watchword; concepts 275,278 …   New thesaurus

  • catchword — ► NOUN 1) a popular word or phrase encapsulating a particular concept. 2) a word printed or placed so as to attract attention …   English terms dictionary

  • catchword — [kach′wʉrd΄] n. 1. Historical the first word of a book page, printed in the lower right hand corner of the preceding page to catch the binder s eye 2. GUIDE WORD 3. an actor s cue 4. a word or phrase repeated so often that it comes to epitomize a …   English World dictionary

  • catchword — UK [ˈkætʃˌwɜː(r)d] / US [ˈkætʃˌwɜrd] noun [countable] Word forms catchword : singular catchword plural catchwords a word used for representing a particular idea, usually one that is popular for a short time …   English dictionary

  • catchword — catch|word [ˈkætʃwə:d US wə:rd] n a word or phrase that refers to a feature of a situation, product etc that is considered important ▪ Variety is the catchword at our latest venue, the Beehive Club …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • catchword — noun Date: circa 1736 1. a. a word under the right hand side of the last line on a book page that repeats the first word on the following page b. guide word 2. catchphrase 1 …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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