\ ˌbī-ən-ˈbī How to pronounce by-and-by (audio) \

Definition of by-and-by

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a future time or occasion

by and by


Definition of by and by (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for by-and-by

Synonyms: Noun

future, futurity, hereafter, offing, tomorrow

Synonyms: Adverb

anon, before long, directly, momentarily, presently, shortly, soon

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of by-and-by in a Sentence


we'll get under way by and by

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

But by and by he allows himself to be coaxed into the fold. Michael Friedrich, The New Republic, "Spirit of the Strip Mall," 24 May 2018 Robert Frost would not gaze off into the snowy world, telling this tale with a sigh, by and by, not yet. Mary O’connell , Longreads, "Writing the Monsignor," 18 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'by-and-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-and-by


1591, in the meaning defined above


1526, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for by-and-by

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Time Traveler for by-and-by

The first known use of by-and-by was in 1526

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More from Merriam-Webster on by-and-by

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with by-and-by

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for by-and-by

Comments on by-and-by

What made you want to look up by-and-by? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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