by·​pass | \ ˈbī-ˌpas How to pronounce bypass (audio) \

Definition of bypass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a passage to one side especially : a deflected route usually around a town
2a : a channel carrying a fluid around a part and back to the main stream
(2) : shunt sense 1c also : a surgical procedure for the establishment of a shunt have a coronary bypass


bypassed; bypassing; bypasses

Definition of bypass (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to avoid by means of a bypass bypass a congested area
b : to cause to follow a bypass
2a : to neglect or ignore usually intentionally
b : circumvent attempting to bypass the law

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of bypass in a Sentence

Noun The bridge is being rebuilt so we'll have to take the bypass. Verb To bypass the city, take the highway that circles it. Is there a way to bypass the bridge construction? He bypassed the manager and talked directly to the owner. She managed to bypass the usual paperwork.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Still, a late-summer tradition will be lost, albeit for a season should the game's best bypass Cincinnati/Mason to head directly to Queens. Scott Springer,, "What moving the Western & Southern Open would mean for local athletes," 5 June 2020 The Salt vulnerabilities are CVE-2020-11651, an authentication bypass, and CVE-2020-11652, a directory traversal. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Cisco security breach hits corporate servers that ran unpatched software," 28 May 2020 Six months without writing from a game sets a personal record spanning 43 years in the business, surpassing any challenges at least one heart attack, a bypass and four teenagers could muster. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Coronavirus pandemic has provided a quiet pause for live sports — and it isn’t all that bad," 23 May 2020 Then in 2014, Cotswold Archaeology was tasked to excavate an area nearby before a bypass was built there. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Missing Box Contains Bones of Britain’s Early Inhabitants," 1 Oct. 2019 According to the company, one problem the researchers faced was that a patient undergoing a bypass can’t survive for very long on a mechanical heart pump: surgeons must race the clock. D. T. Max, The New Yorker, "Paging Dr. Robot," 23 Sep. 2019 Some are concerned that a new bypass would hurt the environment. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "‘Damage would certainly be done’: Concerns rise about possible Louisville-area bypass," 27 June 2019 There are also some machines — ECMO Machines — that are used for a heart-lung bypass that can help oxygenate blood in patients. Wendy Grossman Kantor,, "Why Ventilators Are so Important in the Fight Against Coronavirus," 1 Apr. 2020 Pruning shears: Fiskars has steel bypass pruning shears designed to cut stems and light branches. oregonlive, "Suit up for World Naked Gardening Day: A holster to hold pruners," 1 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Those flying into Vienna International Airport can undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival to bypass the country’s mandatory two-week quarantine. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "A Country-by-country Guide to Europe's Reopening," 23 June 2020 The ordinance would allow the Assembly to approve new shelters by conditional use and bypass the regular Planning and Zoning commission process, which can be lengthy. Paula Dobbyn, Anchorage Daily News, "City considering Midtown Anchorage hotel for new alcohol and drug treatment center," 18 June 2020 Organizations ranging from business chambers to human rights groups have criticized Beijing’s move to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature and impose laws banning subversion, secession and foreign interference. Fortune, "Hong Kong security laws may not be retroactive, Chinese official says," 15 June 2020 In response, Gorsuch suggested that his colleagues were relying upon legislative history to bypass the law’s plain meaning, an approach that Scalia famously spent decades crusading against. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Neil Gorsuch Just Upended the Conservative Legal Project," 15 June 2020 His announcement came after Beijing decided to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature to impose the sweeping new national security legislation. Amy Gunia, Time, "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Slams China's 'Coercive Bullying Tactics' Against the U.K.," 10 June 2020 The law will be drafted over the next two months and its implementation will bypass the city's legislature. Laura He, CNN, "Hong Kong has only one real rival for businesses thinking about leaving," 10 June 2020 The order instructs federal agencies to bypass the usual environmental review process established by the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in which officials must determine if a project could cause environmental impacts. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Trump’s latest executive order could let industry shirk environmental responsibility," 9 June 2020 Last month, China's ceremonial parliament voted to bypass Hong Kong's legislature and enact national security legislation for the semi-autonomous territory. Fox News, "Hong Kong passes bill making it a crime to disrespect China’s national anthem," 5 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bypass.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bypass


1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1736, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bypass

Time Traveler for bypass

Time Traveler

The first known use of bypass was in 1736

See more words from the same year

Statistics for bypass

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bypass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bypass


How to pronounce bypass (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bypass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a road that goes around a blocked or very crowded area
medical : a procedure done to allow blood to flow past a blocked blood vessel to reach the heart



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

: to go around or avoid (a place or area)
: to avoid or ignore (someone or something) especially to get something done quicker


by·​pass | \ ˈbī-ˌpas How to pronounce bypass (audio) \

Kids Definition of bypass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a road serving as a substitute route around a blocked or crowded area


bypassed; bypassing

Kids Definition of bypass (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make a detour around
2 : avoid sense 1, forgo … would probably be permitted to bypass most of the training.— Lois Lowry, The Giver


by·​pass | \ ˈbī-ˌpas How to pronounce bypass (audio) \

Medical Definition of bypass

: a surgically established shunt cardiopulmonary bypass of blood from the right atrium to the aorta also : a surgical procedure for the establishment of a shunt

Note: When a bypass is performed on more than one coronary artery or branch, the number of times (double, triple, etc.) is often specified.

I was immediately scheduled for a triple bypass, but they decided to try an angioplasty.
— Terry Todd, Sports Illustrated, 1 Aug. 1983
— see coronary artery bypass, gastric bypass, jejunoileal bypass

Other Words from bypass

bypass transitive verb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bypass

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bypass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bypass

Spanish Central: Translation of bypass

Nglish: Translation of bypass for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bypass for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bypass

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!