standby

noun
stand·​by | \ ˈstan(d)-ˌbī How to pronounce standby (audio) \
plural standbys\ ˈstan(d)-​ˌbīz How to pronounce standbys (audio) \

Definition of standby

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : one to be relied on especially in emergencies
b : a favorite or reliable choice or resource
2 : one that is held in reserve ready for use : substitute
on standby
: ready or available for immediate action or use

standby

adjective

Definition of standby (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : held near at hand and ready for use a standby power plant standby equipment
2 : relating to the act or condition of standing by standby duty a standby period
3 : of, relating to, or traveling by an airline service in which the passenger must wait for an available unreserved seat standby passengers a standby ticket

standby

adverb

Definition of standby (Entry 3 of 4)

: on a standby basis fly standby

stand by

verb

Definition of stand by (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : to be present also : to remain apart or aloof
2 : to be or to get ready to act an ambulance was standing by

transitive verb

: to remain loyal or faithful to : defend stood by his decision

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Synonyms & Antonyms for standby

Synonyms: Noun

anchor, buttress, dependence (also dependance), mainstay, pillar, reliance

Synonyms: Verb

adhere (to), cling (to), hew (to), keep (to), stick (to or with)

Antonyms: Verb

defect (from)

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Examples of standby in a Sentence

Noun

More police officers were sent as standbys. We bought an electric generator as a standby.

Verb

no matter how much people object, I will stand by my decision
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Emergency services have issued a red alert, placing extra services such as medical staff and firefighters on standby through Sunday. Fox News, "The Latest: More risk of wildfires in scorched Sweden," 3 Aug. 2018 Opened only last year, the Lower East Side hot spot has already become a local standby, and the upstairs lounges are crowded with creatives in various attitudes of hip—an unlikely setting for a sexagenarian Swiss in business attire. Ian Volner, WSJ, "Swiss Architecture Firm Herzog & De Meuron Celebrates 40 Years," 4 Nov. 2018 One menu standby — and its best — is its Northern Italian Maltagliati pasta with braised rabbit meat and carrots, herbaceous and brimming with a rich white-wine-and-butter sauce. Tan Vinh, The Seattle Times, "The best dinner-for-two deal in Seattle: a bottle of wine and 2 pasta entrees for $35," 18 Sep. 2018 The National Guard has helicopters on standby, just in case. Carter Evans, CBS News, "Lava flow from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano blocking escape routes," 31 May 2018 Despite Tarkowski being the only defender on standby, TalkSPORT commentator Nigel Adderley claimed Southgate has no plans of replacing the Premier League defender. SI.com, "Burnley's James Tarkowski Withdraws From England Standby List Ahead of Groin Surgery," 27 May 2018 Arguably, Elizabeth Harvest is about those favorite science-fiction standbys: identity, hubris, and humanity’s darkest sides. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Elizabeth Harvest is a high-tech, twist-packed take on the Bluebeard myth," 17 Mar. 2018 The recent decision by Formula 1 to drop its sometimes scantily clad grid girls, long a standby on the racing scene, has sparked a sports sideline debate. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Grid girls are gone; should NFL cheerleaders and NBA dancers be next?," 26 Feb. 2018 Symmes, the erstwhile standby, even wrote a sonnet in her honor. Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com, "There's a love story hidden on a tombstone in Washington Park. It endures 186 years later.," 13 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Carolina Herrera is one of the royals' standby designers; earlier this week, Meghan Markle wore a Herrera gown for a formal meeting with the King of Morocco. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Gets Sporty in a Barbour Jacket, Ralph Lauren Sweater, and Sneakers," 27 Feb. 2019 In the half-century since Fontana slashed his paintings, any number of artists have followed his lead in deconstructing that old standby art object, the painting made on a piece of canvas stretched over a rectangular frame. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "‘Lucio Fontana: On the Threshold’ Review: Creativity That Cuts Against the Grain," 22 Jan. 2019 For those unable to snag one of the free tickets (though there is a standby line), milelongopera.com offers 360-degree videos. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘The Mile-Long Opera: A Biography of 7 O’Clock’ Review: A Theme-Park Performance," 8 Oct. 2018 This chip will be aimed at ultra-mobile systems with the processor measuring 12×12×1mm and having a standby power of 2mW. Intel's not the only one to want to use different processes for different bits of a processor. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Intel introduces Foveros: 3D die stacking for more than just memory," 12 Dec. 2018 He’s squeezed the ole standby lying-to-investigators plea out of a few targets. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Doubling Down on Mueller," 15 Nov. 2018 With PlayFab, developers need only pay for the server resources actually in use, plus a little extra for some standby capacity. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft wants Azure to be the multiplayer server solution for every platform," 14 Nov. 2018 Get in the standby line during the last hour the park is open. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Get on Any Disney World Ride in 30 Minutes or Less," 8 Nov. 2018 The Anti-Blazer Instead of reaching for your standby black blazer to top off a white top, check miniskirt, and boots, go for a more streamlined zip-up jacket. Vogue, "5 Activewear Pieces That Will Revolutionize Your Fall Dressing Game," 14 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

According to the JetBlue website, customers with travel planned between September 5 and September 17 can rebook or travel standby without paying additional fees. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Satellite Image Shows Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Katia in One Powerful Portrait," 7 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a speech to Venezuela’s exile community in South Florida on Monday, Trump warned Venezuela’s military that standing by Maduro could bring disastrous consequences. Fabiola Sanchez, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Venezuela opposition’s fight to win over troops," 20 Feb. 2019 Today's focus is on AI in manufacturing and space—stand by to blast off! Alyson Behr, Ars Technica, "NASA’s next Mars rover will use AI to be a better science partner," 6 Dec. 2018 That says: That’s my (great-)grandma, stand by here. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Precious possessions: The genocide survivors who kept them tell their stories," 13 July 2018 That's happened at Spaceflight Industries, which will sometimes pull out a particular smallsat that needs or wants to fly sooner, and then swap in a spacecraft from another customer that's either been standing by for less time or cares less. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Never Prebook Your Return Flight From a Rocket Launch," 6 July 2018 Prosecutors stand by their charging decisions in those cases, a spokeswoman said. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "Prosecutors: Trooper charged with ATV murder used Taser to punish people," 7 June 2018 But several brave beer lovers stood by the park's fire pits, beer in hand. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wintry weather doesn't stop the South Shore Terrace beer garden from opening," 18 Apr. 2018 Wong stands by the effectiveness of pore strips to get rid of blackheads quickly. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Your Nose, Chin and Forehead," 28 Dec. 2018 On Wednesday, the manufacturer stood by its aircraft. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Lion Air Pilots Tried to Override Technical Glitch Before Fatal Crash," 28 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'standby.' 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 standby

Noun

1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1971, in the meaning defined above

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for standby

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Time Traveler for standby

The first known use of standby was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for standby

standby

noun

English Language Learners Definition of standby

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or thing that is available especially in emergencies

standby

adjective

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

: relating to or traveling by an airline service in which the passenger must wait for an available seat

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More from Merriam-Webster on standby

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with standby

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for standby

Spanish Central: Translation of standby

Nglish: Translation of standby for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of standby for Arabic Speakers

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