standby

1 of 4

noun

stand·​by ˈstan(d)-ˌbī How to pronounce standby (audio)
plural standbys ˈstan(d)-ˌbīz How to pronounce standby (audio)
1
a
: 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

standby

2 of 4

adjective

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

3 of 4

adverb

: on a standby basis
fly standby

stand by

4 of 4

verb

stood by; standing by; stands by

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
Phrases
on standby
: ready or available for immediate action or use

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The Art Hotel, a standby in the old city, is in a converted tenement, parts of which have survived since the 14th century. Laura Moserb, Travel + Leisure, 6 July 2024 Stadium workers passed out free water along the floor and emergency responders were on standby to assist fans who became overheated during the show. Bryan West, USA TODAY, 5 July 2024
Adjective
The maintenance workers found that parts inside the tail were damaged, including the metal support bracket and the vertical stabilizer ribs above and below where the standby rudder power control unit is. Michael Salerno, The Arizona Republic, 10 July 2024 To that end, the San Diego restaurant is serving up standby plates like chicken-liver mousse, steak au poivre, and roast chicken. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 28 June 2024
Adverb
The new policy was announced Sunday, along with another significant change – United travelers can now fly standby for free on flights departing the day of their travel. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 31 Aug. 2020 Silver status grants access to the Priority Reservations Waitlist (a waitlist to get a seat in a higher class) and gives travelers higher priority when flying standby. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 25 Mar. 2023
Verb
Both Democrats — contemporaries whose careers were forged in the crucible of San Francisco politics — are publicly and vocally standing by Biden. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2024 Indeed, the New York Republican has stood by Trump in his weakest moments. Ken Tran, USA TODAY, 8 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for standby 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'standby.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1712, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1971, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of standby was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near standby

Cite this Entry

“Standby.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/standby. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

standby

1 of 4 noun
stand·​by ˈstan(d)-ˌbī How to pronounce standby (audio)
plural standbys -ˌbīz How to pronounce standby (audio)
: one available or to be relied on especially in emergencies

standby

2 of 4 adjective
1
: held near at hand and ready for use
standby equipment
2
: relating to the act of standing by
a standby period
3
: of or relating to a mode of transportation (as airline service) in which the passengers must wait for an available unreserved spot
a standby ticket

standby

3 of 4 adverb
: as a standby passenger
flying standby

stand by

4 of 4 verb
(ˈ)stan(d)-ˈbī
1
: to be present
stood by, watching the game
2
: to be or to get ready to act
ambulances are standing by
3
: to remain loyal or faithful
stood by us to the end
stood by his decision

More from Merriam-Webster on standby

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