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From Middle English byspel, bispel, from Old English biġspel, bīspel (a proverb; pattern; example), equivalent to by- +‎ spell (talk, saying, discourse, story). Compare Scots byspel (byword; rarety; outcast), Saterland Frisian Biespil (example; pattern), Middle Dutch bijspel (proverb; parable), German Low German Bispill (example), German Beispiel (example).


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byspel (plural not attested)

  1. (rare) An example.
    • 2011, Michael Everson, The Oxford English Dictionary on eð:
      I don't like using ð for most words at the beginning of the word simply because ð looks like a d and huru Ð looks like a D and would encourage people using the “d” instead of “th” for byspel: “dat” instead of “that” … and others.
    • 2015, LT Wolf, The World King - Book I: The Reckoning:
      As far as Rostam could tell, the only thing needed to enlist in the Legion was a heartbeat. A byspel of this was that the Army carefully screen'd their soldiers for AIDS and regularly tested everyone for it owing to the likelihood of blood transfusions straight from one soldier to another on the battlefield.
    • 2015, LT Wolf, The World King (fiction), →ISBN:
      For byspel, there will be no more write-offs for children and no more write-offs for interest payments on mortgages.
    • 2015, Prashant Mishra, The Immortal Death:
      I confronted my little dream quite amusingly while he set a perfect parental byspel (example) by hearing me out with his sublime expressions, and as I finished my bit with a collective lot of sighs; 'It was just a bad dream.'

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From Middle English byspel, bispel, from Old English biġspel, bīspel (example, pattern, proverb), from bī- (by-) + spel (tale, story), equivalent to by- +‎ spel. Compare Old High German bīspel, German Beispiel.


byspel (plural byspels)

  1. a rarety, someone or something of rare, unique, or exceptional qualities (often used ironically)
    She's just a byspale.
    • a 1811, reported in Jameson.
      He's nae byspel mair than me.
      He's no better than me.



  1. very, extraordinarily, exceedingly, exceptionally
    byspel weel ("very well")