Prov"erb (?), n. [OE. proverbe, F. proverbe, from L. proverbium; pro before, for + verbum a word. See Verb.] 1. An old and common saying; a phrase which is often repeated; especially, a sentence which briefly and forcibly expresses some practical truth, or the result of experience and observation; a maxim; a saw; an adage. Chaucer. Bacon.

2. A striking or paradoxical assertion; an obscure saying; an enigma; a parable.

His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
John xvi. 29.

3. A familiar illustration; a subject of contemptuous reference.

Thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by word, among all nations.
Deut. xxviii. 37.

4. A drama exemplifying a proverb.

Book of Proverbs, a canonical book of the Old Testament, containing a great variety of wise maxims.

Syn. -- Maxim; aphorism; apothegm; adage; saw.

Prov"erb, v. t. 1. To name in, or as, a proverb. [R.]

Am I not sung and proverbed for a fool ?

2. To provide with a proverb. [R.]

I am proverbed with a grandsire phrase.

Prov"erb, v. i. To write or utter proverbs. [R.]