by-elec·​tion ˈbī-ə-ˌlek-shən How to pronounce by-election (audio)
variants or less commonly bye-election
: a special election held between regular elections in order to fill a vacancy

Examples of by-election in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Labour has repeatedly won U.K. by-elections (when a Parliament seat becomes vacant in between general elections) in the last few years – the chance to regain power in the British government has never been stronger. Lily Ford, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 May 2024 The by-election, a special election held outside of the general election cycle, had attracted particular attention because Labour was forced to withdraw support from its candidate, Azhar Ali, after videos emerged of him claiming that Israel was complicit in the October 7 Hamas attacks. Luke McGee, CNN, 1 Mar. 2024 Even if the establishment prevails, anti-system beliefs will leave their mark, as evidenced by the rise of the Reform party in recent by-elections. Clifford Young, Fortune, 28 Feb. 2024 Since July 2023, the U.K. has held eight by-elections (when a seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant between General Elections): The Conservatives lost six of those elections, with Labour picking up five and the Liberal Democrats picking up one. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 17 Feb. 2024 Labour candidate Damien Egan gives a speech after being declared MP for Kingswood, after being declared winner in the Kingswood by-election, at the Thornbury Leisure Centre, Gloucestershire, Friday Feb. 16, 2024. Jill Lawless The Associated Press,, 17 Feb. 2024 The two by-elections – special elections that take place outside of regular election cycles – were won by the main opposition party Labour in dramatic swings that if replicated on a national level would mean a large Labour majority at a general election. Luke McGee, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 And even though 9 out of every 10 vehicles were estimated to be ULEZ-compliant, the policy became a political football in a highly publicized by-election to fill former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s seat. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Dec. 2023 In July, the Conservatives narrowly won a by-election in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Johnson’s former parliamentary seat, in West London. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 21 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'by-election.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1853, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of by-election was in 1853

Dictionary Entries Near by-election

Cite this Entry

“By-election.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

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