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
stood by; standing by; stands by

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

The police department’s Emergency Response Team, which was on standby in case of any parade trouble, surrounded Joshua Carter’s Edgewood Street house and arrested him, Cicero said. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Report: Hartford fire lieutenant’s stabbing happened during fight with brother over car," 5 June 2019 Residents and visiting firefighting crews are on standby to deploy at a moment’s notice. Washington Post, "Burning kites from Gaza damage Israeli farms, wildlife," 20 June 2018 Residents and visiting firefighting crews are on standby to deploy at a moment's notice. Aron Heller, Fox News, "Burning kites from Gaza damage Israeli farms, wildlife," 20 June 2018 All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. SI.com, "Liverpool Midfielder 'Devastated' After Missing Out on England World Cup Call," 17 May 2018 To keep skin smoother for longer, celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas recommends a combination of hydration, sunglasses to help ward off UV damage (make sure your sunnies come with UV protection), and that old skincare standby, sunscreen. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The Best Ways to Handle Crow's Feet," 15 Feb. 2019 But since that isn’t what Democrats have in mind, the most likely outcome is that old Interstate 95 standby: gridlock. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "You Call That ‘Infrastructure’?," 3 Jan. 2019 Tests of strength are an old carnival standby, and Musée didn't disappoint. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "This arcade is really vintage: Visiting San Francisco’s Musée Mécanique," 29 Sep. 2018 Our pro-business environment is seeing old standbys shrink and newcomers rise. Jacob Feldman, SI.com, "Inside Australia's World Cup 2018 Streaming Fail and What It Means for the U.S.," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Anyone without a reservation wanting to join the tour on June 29 will be added to a standby list. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, "Tour shows off Milpitas history," 14 June 2019 Still, the numbers are impressive, with twice the graphics performance, a 1.5X to 2X lower active power consumption, and a whopping 10X improvement on SOC standby performance. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel roadmap confirms 10nm 'Tiger Lake' chip with Xe graphics, more Ice Lake and Lakefield details," 9 May 2019 Installing a standby generator is no DIY project, either. David Agrell, Popular Mechanics, "Should You Buy a Standby Generator?," 11 Sep. 2018 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

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

Armed guards would have to stand by the plane; otherwise the team might not have a plane to return to. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "Cynthia McFadden Went Into the Triangle of Death," 14 Mar. 2019 Jonas, 29, eagerly awaited his bride wearing a gray tux with a white flower on his lapel as his brothers Nick and Kevin stood by his side. Nicole Briese, Allure, "Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas Had a Quickie Vegas Wedding After the Billboard Music Awards," 2 May 2019 The Air Force had two gray rescue helicopters standing by in Kismayo. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "America’s Other Endless War: Battling al-Shabaab in Somalia," 17 Jan. 2019 Pictures show several tugboat-type ships standing by, plus an anchor-handling vessel investigating the sea bottom underneath the ship along with a Hugin 6000 autonomous unmannned undersea vehicle. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "That Wrecked Norwegian Frigate Is Pretty Much Toast," 13 Nov. 2018 So now that the tables have turned, two questions remain: Will Meghan stand by her friend's side on her wedding day? Blair Donovan, Glamour, "Could Meghan Markle Be a Bridesmaid in Priyanka Chopra's Wedding?," 31 July 2018 Gaughan has been openly critical from the bench at times of Van Dyke’s legal team — once screaming at Herbert to sit down and ordering a sheriff’s deputy to stand by him to stop him from continuing to argue a point. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Key decision awaits Officer Van Dyke as judge pushes for summer trial: Bench or jury?," 27 June 2018 Chopra posted a photo of Jonas standing by the water next to her brother. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Priyanka Chopra Calls Nick Jonas One of Her 'Favorite Men' in Flirty Instagram," 27 June 2018 On Thursday, with plenty of police standing by, two protesters were outside the Musikverein. David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com, "Adoring Vienna sees Philadelphia Orchestra off to Israel, with no disruptions since Brussels," 1 June 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

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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