View synonyms for by



[ bahy ]


  1. near to or next to:

    a home by a lake.

  2. over the surface of, through the medium of, along, or using as a route:

    He came by the highway. She arrived by air.

  3. on, as a means of conveyance:

    They arrived by ship.

  4. to and beyond the vicinity of; past:

    He went by the church.

  5. within the extent or period of; during:

    by day; by night.

  6. not later than; at or before:

    I usually finish work by five o'clock.

  7. to the extent or amount of:

    The new house is larger than the old one by a great deal. He's taller than his sister by three inches.

  8. from the opinion, evidence, or authority of:

    By his own account he was in Chicago at the time. I know him by sight.

  9. according to; in conformity with:

    This is a bad movie by any standards.

  10. with (something) at stake; on:

    to swear by all that is sacred.

  11. through the agency, efficacy, work, participation, or authority of:

    The book was published by Random House.

  12. from the hand, mind, invention, or creativity of:

    She read a poem by Emily Dickinson. The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison.

  13. in consequence, as a result, or on the basis of:

    We met by chance. We won the game by forfeit.

  14. accompanied with or in the atmosphere of:

    Lovers walk by moonlight.

  15. in treatment or support of; for:

    He did well by his children.

  16. after; next after, as of the same items in a series:

    piece by piece; little by little.

  17. (in multiplication) taken the number of times as that specified by the second number, or multiplier:

    Multiply 18 by 57.

  18. (in measuring shapes) having an adjoining side of, as a width relative to a length:

    a room 10 feet by 12 feet.

  19. (in division) separated into the number of equal parts as that specified by the second number, or divisor:

    Divide 99 by 33.

  20. in terms or amounts of; in measuring units of:

    Apples are sold by the bushel. I'm paid by the week.

  21. begot or born of:

    Eve had two sons by Adam.

  22. (of quadrupeds) having as a sire:

    Equipoise II by Equipoise.

  23. Navigation. (as used in the names of the 16 smallest points on the compass) one point toward the east, west, north, or south of N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, or NW, respectively:

    He sailed NE by N from Pago Pago.

  24. into, at, or to:

    Come by my office this afternoon.


  1. near; in the immediate vicinity; at hand:

    The school is close by.

  2. to and beyond a point near something; past:

    The car drove by.

  3. aside; away:

    Put your work by for the moment. Over the years, she laid by enough money to retire.

  4. over; past:

    in times gone by.

  5. by me,
    1. (in bridge and other bidding card games) a declaration that the speaker is passing.
    2. (in poker) a declaration that the speaker is checking:

      Is my pair of tens still high? By me.


  1. situated to one side:

    They came down a by passage.

  2. secondary, incidental:

    It was only a by comment.


, plural byes.


  1. a combining form of by:

    by-product; bystander; byway.



the internet domain name for

  1. Belarus




  1. near


  2. secondary or incidental







/ baɪ /


  1. used to indicate the agent after a passive verb

    seeds eaten by the birds

  2. used to indicate the person responsible for a creative work

    this song is by Schubert

  3. via; through

    enter by the back door

  4. followed by a gerund to indicate a means used

    he frightened her by hiding behind the door

  5. beside; next to; near

    a tree by the house

  6. passing the position of; past

    he drove by the old cottage

  7. not later than; before

    return the books by Tuesday

  8. used to indicate extent, after a comparative

    it is hotter by five degrees than it was yesterday

  9. (esp in oaths) invoking the name of

    I swear by all the gods

  10. multiplied by

    four by three equals twelve

  11. in habitual sentences during the passing of (esp in the phrases by day , by night )
  12. placed between measurements of the various dimensions of something

    a plank fourteen inches by seven


  1. near

    the house is close by

  2. away; aside

    he put some money by each week for savings

  3. passing a point near something; past

    he drove by

  4. past; over and done with

    that's a' by now

  5. aside; behind one

    you must put that by you


  1. a variant spelling of bye 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of by1

First recorded before 900; Middle English bi, be, by, Old English bī, big, be; cognate with Dutch bij, Old High German bī, German bei, Gothic bi; be-

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Word History and Origins

Origin of by1

from by

Origin of by2

Old English bī; related to Gothic bi , Old High German , Sanskrit abhi to, towards

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. by and by, in a short time; before long; presently:

    The clouds will disappear by and by.

  2. by and large, in general; on the whole:

    By and large, there is much to be said for the new system.

  3. by the by. bye 1( def 6 ).

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Synonym Study

By, through, with indicate agency or means of getting something done or accomplished. By is regularly used to denote the agent (person or force) in passive constructions: It is done by many; destroyed by fire. It also indicates means: Send it by airmail. With denotes the instrument (usually consciously) employed by an agent: He cut it with the scissors. Through designates particularly immediate agency or instrumentality or reason or motive: through outside aid; to yield through fear; wounded through carelessness.

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Example Sentences

A step-by-step plan to break from your various technology addictions.

Those snakes attacked unwitting passers-by, or invaded homes and hotels.

Horniness packs side-by-side by with a deeper loneliness along the walls of The Park.

On Sept. 7, 1996, Tupac was targeted and killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

They logged every incident and released depressing day-by-day accounts of the carnage.

All along the highways and by-paths of our literature we encounter much that pertains to this "queen of plants."

John was baptizing at a large pool called Ænon-by-Saleim,—probably allegorical, meaning “Fountain of Repose.”

The sewing-machine made a resounding clatter in the room; it was of a ponderous, by-gone make.

Mr. Spurrell came down to see a horse, and we shall be very glad to have the benefit of his opinion by-and-by.

Mr. Slocum was not educated in a university, and his life has been in by-paths, and out-of-the-way places.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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