plural by-blows
: an indirect blow
While photographers snapped away, the two men chatted amiably about … the by-blows from Hurricane Esther, even then whipping through New York.Time
dated : a child born to parents who are not married to each other
… Aubrey noted that Shakespeare … had bedded down at the Crown Tavern in Oxford; that the innkeeper's wife was a very beautiful and witty woman; and that her poet son boasted of being Shakespeare's by-blow.S. Schoenbaum
… and now, after over twenty years of bachelorhood, Travis has suddenly discovered he has a daughter of seventeen, a by-blow from an earlier case.Charles Nicol
: a secondary or unintended consequence
As one of the by-blows of having my microwave books published in London, I have been going there more …Barbara Kafka
… the lunar programme was a child of its time, a by-blow of the Cold War arms race …Daily Telegraph (London)

Word History

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of by-blow was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near by-blow

Cite this Entry

“By-blow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

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