by-prod·​uct | \ ˈbī-ˌprä-(ˌ)dəkt How to pronounce by-product (audio) \
variants: or byproduct
plural by-products or byproducts

Definition of by-product

1 : something produced in a usually industrial or biological process in addition to the principal product Sulfured molasses is a by-product of sugar refining.— Wayne Gisslen Small amounts of amyloid beta are generated as an ordinary metabolic byproduct and are believed to do no harm, but larger amounts seem to be tied to Alzheimer's.— January W. Payne Meat by-products are parts other than meat, including organs, blood and bone …— Amy D. Shojai Among the most commonly occurring and thoroughly studied chlorination byproducts are trihalomethanes …Consumer Reports
2 : a secondary and sometimes unexpected or unintended result Japan's success as an international exporter of manufactured goods is a by-product of the volatile trade among Japanese cities.— Jane Jacobs As investor confidence grows, overspending and overborrowing are typically byproducts of an aging bull market.— Carolyn Bigda One of the by-products of the information age is an increasing number of data formats.— John Was

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First Known Use of by-product

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of by-product was in 1849

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Cite this Entry

“By-product.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of by-product

: something that is produced during the production or destruction of something else
: something that happens as a result of something else


by-prod·​uct | \ ˈbī-ˌprä-dəkt \

Kids Definition of by-product

: something produced (as in manufacturing) in addition to the main product

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