\ ˈbī How to pronounce by (audio) , before consonants also \

Definition of by

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : in proximity to : near standing by the window
2a : into the vicinity of and beyond : past went right by him
b : through or through the medium (see medium entry 1 sense 2) of : via enter by the door
c : in the direction of : toward sailed north by east
3a : during the course of studied by night
b : not later than be there by 2 p.m.
4a : through the agency (see agency sense 3) or instrumentality of a poem written by Keats death by firing squad taken by force happened by luck
b : born or begot of had two sons by his first wife one child by her second husband
c : sired or borne by having foals by champion race horses
5 : with the witness or sanction (see sanction entry 1 sense 4c) of swear by all that is holy
6a : in conformity with acted by the rules
b : according to called her by name sold by the pound
7 used as a function word in multiplication, in division, and in measurements divide a by bmultiply 10 by 4a room 15 feet by 20 feet
8a : with respect to a lawyer by profession
b : on behalf of did right by his children
9 : in or to the amount or extent of win by a nose
b chiefly Scotland : in comparison with : beside
10 used as a function word to indicate successive units or increments little by littlewalk two by two
11 : in the opinion of : from the point of view of OK by me
by the by or by the bye


\ ˈbī How to pronounce by (audio) \

Definition of by (Entry 2 of 5)

1 : past saw him go by
2a : at or to another's home stop by
b : close at hand : near lives close by
3 : aside, away


\ ˈbī How to pronounce by (audio) \
variants: or bye
plural byes\ ˈbīz How to pronounce by (audio) \

Definition of by (Entry 3 of 5)

: something of secondary importance : a side issue by the by
\ ˈbī How to pronounce by (audio) \
variants: or bye

Definition of by (Entry 4 of 5)

1 : being off the main route : side a by passage
2 : incidental by effects
\ ˈbī How to pronounce by (audio) \
variants: or bye

Definition of by (Entry 5 of 5)

used to express farewell often used with following now

Synonyms for by

Synonyms: Preposition

Synonyms: Adverb

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Examples of by in a Sentence

Preposition His wife was sitting by him. They have a house by the lake. The bus went right by him without stopping. Some friends stopped by our house for a chat. Why don't you come by my place later? Adverb The bus went right by without stopping. We stood and applauded as the parade went by. Why don't you come by later? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Observe, and observe, then after observing, try to process, but by slowing down the mind, first. Holly Jones, Variety, 12 Sep. 2022 Based on the pre-tax profits of the fiscal year starting in 2022 that are higher—by a yet-to-be determined percentage — than average pre-tax profits for the three years starting 2019. Lenka Ponikelska, Fortune, 12 Sep. 2022 The following month, the duo attended The Hollywood Reporter's Most Powerful People In Media party in N.Y.C., posing side-by-side in their monochromatic outfits. Francesca Gariano, Peoplemag, 12 Sep. 2022 Index rating is a good way to track the ups and downs of modern digital life on a country-by-country basis. Eric Griffith, PCMAG, 12 Sep. 2022 The game will be shown nationally on NBC, with Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analysis) and Melissa Stark (sideline) on the call. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 12 Sep. 2022 This site is protected by recaptcha Privacy Policy | Terms of Service People who had HIV and monkeypox were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized, the centers said, although the exact reason for treatment wasn't known. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 12 Sep. 2022 He was then arrested on a battery-by-strangulation charge. Lisa J. Huriash, Sun Sentinel, 11 Sep. 2022 Subscribers can also check out game-by-game predictions for ASU's season, including the Sun Devils' game vs. Oklahoma State, here. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 11 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Weeks, then months, went by, and Buchwald was still alive and funny. Eric Weiner, Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2022 The days went by, and Brahms didn’t notice any real improvement. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, 8 Sep. 2022 Pride Month events in June went by without pop-up clinics. Jen Christensen, CNN, 3 Sep. 2022 But several seconds went by before Fenumiai announced the apparent winner, tripping over Peltola’s name. Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Sep. 2022 Still, more than four months went by without updates from the Miami Police. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 31 Aug. 2022 Hardly a blink went by, and Curry was handing off to Samples, the 5-foot-6 back’s powerful legs churning for another chunk of yardage. Luca Evans, Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2022 As the years went by and the notes continued, the card became too small to hold the cousins' memories. Amy Schwabe, Journal Sentinel, 26 Aug. 2022 An hour went by before Conley arrived and parked out of frame of the video. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 23 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sarver was fined $10 million, the maximum allowed under the NBA constitution and by-laws, suspended a year, but remains the team owner. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 14 Sep. 2022 The fine of $10 million is the most that can be levied under the NBA’s constitution and by-laws, the league said, and will be donated to organizations that focus on race and gender in and outside the workplace. Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 Outside the courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach, news media vans and cameras lined the street, prompting a passer-by to remark that someone famous must be inside. New York Times, 18 Aug. 2022 In response to the uproar following his by-then viral trash video, Purja added that the litter shouldn’t necessarily be perceived as malice. Anna Callaghan, Outside Online, 29 Aug. 2022 But for a shop that's part of a business district heavily reliant on passers-by and tourists, Fields has noticed that inflation seems to be taking a bite. Alicia Wallace, CNN, 29 July 2022 Though this is only the third one-on-one date of the season, producers are already leaping ahead to an old stand-by: The Pretty Woman date! Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 26 July 2022 In 1990, he was elected to the British Parliament in a by-election and resigned from Queen’s University to pursue his political career. Alan Cowell, New York Times, 25 July 2022 During campaigning for the by-elections, Khan has warned about government plans to rig the vote and described the poll as an opportunity to end dynastic family rule and the influence of the US. Kamran Haider, BostonGlobe.com, 17 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Running backs coach Mike Jinks reiterated USC wants to employ less of a by-committee approach this fall, and Ingram has the look of a workhorse, with the ability to do damage in space and between the tackles. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 1 May 2021 About 500 fast charging stalls will go live the by end of this year, GM said. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 28 Apr. 2021 But even Alabama must face this stark reality: Smith, Waddle and Harris were generational talents capable of being replaced only with a by-committee approach. USA Today, 16 Apr. 2021 Clouds will increase by evening as the next rainy front approaches. oregonlive, 29 Apr. 2020 Partly sunny skies emerge for all by afternoon as temperatures struggle to move past the 30s to low 40s for highs. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2019 Horton was a familiar face in the community by sight, if not by name. Susan Hoffman, Daily Pilot, 15 July 2019 JoJo’ Robar, if not by name then by description — that guy with the 200-watt smile and his three-wheeled bike who rode all over, collecting cans and friends. Bill Leukhardt, Courant Community, 13 June 2018 In the church’s library, retired religion scholar Herb Burhenn unpacks John 16 verse by verse as a dozen seniors seated around a long table listen and nod deferentially. G. Jeffrey Macdonald, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Oct. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'by.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of by


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b


1567, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1709, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for by

Preposition, Adverb, Noun, and Adjective

Middle English, preposition & adverb, from Old English, preposition, be, bī; akin to Old High German by, near, Latin ambi- on both sides, around, Greek amphi


short for goodbye

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Time Traveler for by

Time Traveler

The first known use of by was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near by



by air

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Statistics for by

Last Updated

15 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“By.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/by. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for by


\ How to pronounce by (audio) \

Kids Definition of by

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : close to : near His dog stood by the door.
2 : so as to go on We went by the back road. I prefer to travel by bus.
3 : so as to go through The burglar left by the back window.
4 : so as to pass A policeman drove by the house.
5 : at sense 1, during I travel by night.
6 : no later than Be sure to leave by noon.
7 : with the use or help of She won by cheating.
8 : through the action of It was seen by the others.
9 : according to sense 1 Play by the rules.
10 : with respect to He is a lawyer by profession. She is a Canadian by birth.
11 : to the amount of The youngest runner won by a mile.
12 used to join two or more measurements a room 14 feet wide by 20 feet long or to join the numbers in a statement of multiplication or division Divide 8 by 4.



Kids Definition of by (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : near at hand Stand by.
2 : past entry 4 in days gone by We walked right by.
by and by
: after a while We left by and by.

More from Merriam-Webster on by

Nglish: Translation of by for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of by for Arabic Speakers

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