1

by

play
preposition \ˈbī, before consonants also bə\

Definition of by

  1. 1 :  in proximity to :  near <standing by the window>

  2. 2a :  through or through the medium (see 1medium 2) of :  via <enter by the door>b :  in the direction of :  toward <sailed north by east>c :  into the vicinity of and beyond :  past <went right by him>

  3. 3a :  during the course of <studied by night>b :  not later than <be there by 2 p.m.>

  4. 4a :  through the agency (see agency 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. 5 :  with the witness or sanction (see 1sanction 4c) of <swear by all that is holy>

  6. 6a :  in conformity with <acted by the rules>b :  according to <called her by name> <sold by the pound>

  7. 7a :  on behalf of <did right by his children>b :  with respect to <a lawyer by profession>

  8. 8a :  in or to the amount or extent of <win by a nose>b chiefly Scotland :  in comparison with :  beside

  9. 9 —used as a function word to indicate successive units or increments <little by little> <walk two by two>

  10. 10 —used as a function word in multiplication, in division, and in measurements <divide a by b> <multiply 10 by 4> <a room 15 feet by 20 feet>

  11. 11 :  in the opinion of :  from the point of view of <OK by me>

by the by

or

by the bye

Examples of by in a sentence

  1. His wife was sitting by him.

  2. They have a house by the lake.

  3. The bus went right by him without stopping.

  4. Some friends stopped by our house for a chat.

  5. Why don't you come by my place later?

Origin and Etymology of by

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


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

by

play
adverb \ˈbī\

Definition of by

  1. 1a :  close at hand :  near <lives close by>b :  at or to another's home <stop by>

  2. 2 :  past <saw him go by>

  3. 3 :  aside, away

Examples of by in a sentence

  1. The bus went right by without stopping.

  2. We stood and applauded as the parade went by.

  3. Why don't you come by later?

Origin and Etymology of by

see 1by


First Known Use: before 12th century


3

by

play
adjective \ˈbī\
variants: or

bye

Definition of by

  1. 1 :  being off the main route :  side <a by passage>

  2. 2 :  incidental <by effects>

Origin and Etymology of by

see 1by


First Known Use: 14th century


4

by

play
noun \ˈbī\
variants: or

bye

Definition of by

plural

byes

play \ˈbīz\
  1. :  something of secondary importance :  a side issue <by the by>

Origin and Etymology of by

see 1by


First Known Use: 1567


5

by

play
interjection \ˈbī\
variants: or

bye

Definition of by

  1. —used to express farewell ; often used with following now

Origin and Etymology of by

short for goodbye


First Known Use: 1709


BY Defined for English Language Learners

1

by

play
preposition \ˈbī, before consonants also bə\

Definition of by for English Language Learners

  • : close to or next to (something or someone)

  • : up to and beyond (something or someone)

  • : at or to (someone's home)


2

by

play
adverb \ˈbī\

Definition of by for English Language Learners

  • —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


BY Defined for Kids

1

by

play
preposition \bī\

Definition of by for Students

  1. 1 :  close to :  near <His dog stood by the door.>

  2. 2 :  so as to go on <We went by the back road.> <I prefer to travel by bus.>

  3. 3 :  so as to go through <The burglar left by the back window.>

  4. 4 :  so as to pass <A policeman drove by the house.>

  5. 5 :  at 1, during <I travel by night.>

  6. 6 :  no later than <Be sure to leave by noon.>

  7. 7 :  with the use or help of <She won by cheating.>

  8. 8 :  through the action of <It was seen by the others.>

  9. 9 :  according to 1 <Play by the rules.>

  10. 10 :  with respect to <He is a lawyer by profession.> <She is a Canadian by birth.>

  11. 11 :  to the amount of <The youngest runner won by a mile.>

  12. 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.>


2

by

play
adverb

Definition of by for Students

  1. 1 :  near at hand <Stand by.>

  2. 2 :  4past <in days gone by> <We walked right by.>

by and by

  1. :  after a while <We left by and by.>



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