- The definition of by is in the immediate region, or to go past something.
- An example of by is how one describes the closeness of a church down the street.
- An example of by is a bike passing a walker on the street.
- By means near or next to, and it also means through which.
- An example of by is a red house set adjacent to a green house.
- An example of by is the author of a novel.
- near in space; beside; at: stand by the wall
- in or during the time of: travel by night
- not later than: be back by ten o'clock
- via; through, along, or over: driving home by the dirt road
- past; beyond: to march by the reviewing stand
- to or within a distance of: missed the putt by a foot
- toward: north by northwest
- in behalf of: he did well by his friends
- with respect to (a given category): a lawyer by profession
- through the means, work, or operations of: a trip by train, a pact reached by negotiation, made by craftsmen, poems (written) by Poe
- through the activity or effort of: used before gerunds: he won by practicing daily
- produced with (the other parent): a son by my first husband
- following in series: marching two by two
- with the authority or sanction of: by your leave
- according to; in a manner consistent with: playing by the rules
- in the name of: used in oaths: by all that's holy
- Informal in the opinion of: the plans are OK by me
- in the amount of, or to the extent or degree of: apples by the peck
- at the rate or pace of: growing dark by degrees
- and in another dimension: two feet by four feet
- using (the given number) as multiplier or divisor
Origin of byMiddle English by, bi, be ; from Old English be (unstressed), bi (stressed) ; from Germanic an unverified form bi, around, about, akin to Classical Greek amphi, Classical Latin ambi: see by-, be; origin, originally adv. of place, meaning “beside, near,” but already highly specialized preposition in Old English
- close at hand; near: stand by
- away; aside: we have put money by
- close in passing; past: the car sped by
- ☆ at the place specified or understood: stop by on your way home
by and by
- Obsolete immediately
- after a short while; soon
- sooner or later; eventually
by and large
☆ on the whole; considering everything
- alone; solitary
by the by
- close by; near: bystander
- side: bystreet
- on the side; secondary; incidental to the main: byproduct
Origin of by-; from by
- Close to; next to: the window by the door.
- With the use or help of; through: We came by the back road.
- Up to and beyond; past: We drove by the house.
- At or to: stopped by the bakery; came by the house.
- In the period of; during: sleeping by day.
- Not later than: by 5:30 PM.
- a. In the amount of: letters by the thousands.b. To the extent of: shorter by two inches.
- a. According to: played by the rules.b. With respect to: siblings by blood.
- In the name of: swore by the Bible to tell the truth.
- Through the agency or action of: was killed by a bullet.
- Used to indicate a succession of specified individuals, groups, or quantities: One by one they left. They were persuaded little by little.
- a. Used in multiplication and division: Multiply 4 by 6 to get 24.b. Used with measurements: a room 12 by 18 feet.c. Toward. Used to express direction with points of the compass: south by east.
- On hand; nearby: Stand by.
- Aside; away: We put it by for later.
- Up to, alongside, and past: The car raced by.
- At or to one's home or current location: Stop by later today.
- Into the past: as years go by.
Origin of byMiddle English, from Old English bī, be; see ambhi in Indo-European roots.
Variant of bye1.
- By: bygone.
- Secondary, incidental: byway.
- Near or next to.
- The mailbox is by the bus stop.
- At some time before (the given time), or before the end of a given time interval.
- Be back by ten o'clock!
- We will send it by the first week of July.
- Indicates the actor in a clause with its verb in the passive voice Through the action or presence of.
- The matter was decided by the chairman.
- The boat was swamped by the water.
- He was protected by his body armour.
- Indicates the creator of a work Existing through the authorship etc of.
- There are many well-known plays by William Shakespeare
- Indicates the cause of a condition or event Through the action of, caused by, responsibility for; by dint of.
- Indicates a means Involving/using the means of.
- I avoided the guards by moving only when they weren't looking.
- Indicates a source of light (medium emanating from hot sources)
- Indicates a rule followed Using the rules or logic of.
- I sorted the items by category.
- Indicates the amount of some progression With a change of.
- Our stock is up by ten percent.
- In the formulae X by X and by Xs, indicates a steady progression, one X after another.
- We went through the book page by page.
- We crawled forward by inches.
- Indicates a referenced source According to.
- He cheated by his own admission.
- Indicates an oath With the authority of.
- By Jove! I think she's got it!
- By all that is holy, I'll put an end to this.
- Used to separate dimensions when describing the size of something.
- It is easy to invert a 2-by-2 matrix.
- The room was about 4 foot by 6 foot.
- The bricks used to build the wall measured 10 by 20 by 30 cm.
- Along a path which runs by the speaker.
- I watched as it passed by.
- In the vicinity, near.
- There was a shepherd close by.
- The shop is hard by the High Street.
- To or at a place, as a residence or place of business.
- I'll stop by on my way home from work.
- We're right near the lifeguard station. Come by before you leave.
- Aside, away.
- The women spent much time after harvest putting jams by for winter and spring.
- Out of the way, subsidiary.
- (card games) A pass
- Alternative spelling of bye.
From Old English bī (“being near”).