\ 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

by

adverb
\ 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

by

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

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Synonyms for by

Synonyms: Preposition

through, via

Synonyms: Adverb

around, close, hard, in, near, nearby, nigh

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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?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Delmonte was headed to the store, walking on the sidewalk, when someone drove by in a tan car and shot him in the chest and stomach, Chicago police told BuzzFeed News. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Anti-Gun Activist Delmonte Johnson Died After Being Shot in Chicago," 7 Sep. 2018 The minimum of effort to learn the inner workings of these animal factories — just driving by, for instance — is met with surveillance and security questions. Robert Abele, chicagotribune.com, "'Eating Animals' review: Natalie Portman, Jonathan Safran Foer want you to care about where your meat comes from," 12 July 2018 The minimum of effort to learn the inner workings of these animal factories — just driving by, for instance — is met with surveillance and security questions. Robert Abele, latimes.com, "'Eating Animals' takes thoughtful approach to food supply," 21 June 2018 One of those neighbors parked his truck in front of Chavarria's home and talked to the many people who were driving by, explaining that Chavarria meant no harm. Doug Criss, CNN, "A Minnesota piñata maker says he is sorry for hanging black figures from his porch," 8 May 2018 Eat by tearing off pieces of bread and topping with yogurt, pieces of fish, herbs, radishes and a squeeze of lime juice. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "The Easiest Way to Eat More Healthy Fish," 16 Jan. 2019 True did not respond by later bludgeoning her mom with a Baby Birkin bag. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Khloé Kardashian References Her Classic Bentley Feud with Kim Kardashian in a New Video of True," 30 Dec. 2018 The images were also long rectangles that got cut off by standard Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram framing, so users had to make the conscious effort to click on them instead of passively scrolling by. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The best memes of 2018, according to The Verge staff," 27 Dec. 2018 Thanks to Jynne and Paulie for stopping by, and to Brett Fuchs for engineering and mixing. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Books We Traveled With This Year: Women Who Travel Podcast," 24 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One protects against thieves, the other protects against judgmental passers-by. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Tesla Rolls Out Sentry Mode and Dog Mode to the Model 3," 14 Feb. 2019 Expancity uses tiles to represent zoning and civic buildings, but your actual commercial and residential buildings are constructed of stackable plastic pieces that rise off the table and draw the eyes of curious passers-by. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, "The hottest new board games from Gen Con 2018," 11 Aug. 2018 The retractable phone mount allows riders to view maps and turn-by-turn navigational instructions without having to dangerously fumble with their device while riding. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Uber’s new Jump e-bikes are easier to charge and harder to vandalize," 18 Dec. 2018 They were mobbed by passers-by and a group of around 25 journalists. Washington Post, "Singapore Postcard: Double trouble and media frenzy," 8 June 2018 The goggles show speed and distance, turn-by-turn nav, and your power output. 4. John Brandon, Fox News, "10 top gadgets and gear for an amazing spring biking trip," 11 May 2018 Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. Ryan Nakashima, The Seattle Times, "Google tracks your movements, like it or not," 13 Aug. 2018 Just beyond Toiny, as the coastal road starts to turn inland, park in a small lay-by. David Jefferys, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Perfect (Long) Weekend in St. Barts," 16 Apr. 2018 Gascoigne employees looked on from a safe distance near the entrance to the Ship Canal Trail, and passers-by and cyclists stopped to snap photos before detouring around the smoking fire to continue on the trail. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "Four-alarm fire at lumber yard on Seattle’s Ship Canal still smoldering," 11 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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, "Plainville Says Goodbye To JoJo," 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, "Luther’s legacy: How people use the Bible today, 500 years after a monk sparked the Protestant Reformation," 30 Oct. 2017 Other prominent Israeli politicians and bodies preceded Mr. Netanyahu in condemning the violence in Charlottesville and the response of Mr. Trump, if not by name. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "As Trump Offers Neo-Nazis Muted Criticism, Netanyahu Is Largely Silent," 18 Aug. 2017 Shipping the hefty-size goods that consumers buy from Costco in bulk could eat into profit margins that are already low for most household staples—particularly as carriers move to charge by dimension as well as weight. Paul Page, WSJ, "Today’s Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ," 6 Apr. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of by

Preposition

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

Adverb

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

Noun

1567, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Interjection

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

Interjection

short for goodbye

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Dictionary Entries near by

bx

BX

bxd

by

by air

by-alley

by-altar

Statistics for by

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for by

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

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More Definitions for by

English Language Learners Definition of by

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: close to or next to (something or someone)
: up to and beyond (something or someone)
: at or to (someone's home)

by

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of by (Entry 2 of 2)

used with put to describe something that is being kept or saved for a future use
: at or to someone's home
: close or near
\ 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.

by

adverb

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on by

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with by

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for by

Spanish Central: Translation of by

Nglish: Translation of by for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of by for Arabic Speakers

Comments on by

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