the future: to meet in the sweet by-and-by.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use by-and-by in a sentence
Mr. Spurrell came down to see a horse, and we shall be very glad to have the benefit of his opinion by-and-by.
by-and-by all pretence of formality and order is put aside and the battle really begins.
by-and-by, as his old friends rallied round him, he spun many a yarn about Rio.Skipper Worse | Alexander Lange Kielland
In fact it went on looking better and better, straight along—until by-and-by it grew into positive proof.The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg | Mark Twain
We sent for a doctor and chyrurgeon, but none to be found, till by-and-by by chance comes in Dr. Clerke, who is afeard of him.Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete | Samuel Pepys
British Dictionary definitions for by and by
presently or eventually
US and Canadian a future time or occasion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Other Idioms and Phrases with by-and-by
After a while, soon, as in She'll be along by and by. The expression probably relies on the meaning of by as a succession of quantities (as in “two by two”). This adverbial phrase came to be used as a noun, denoting either procrastination or the future. William Camden so used it for the former (Remains, 1605): “Two anons and a by and by is an hour and a half.” And W.S. Gilbert used it in the latter sense when Lady Jane sings plaintively that little will be left of her “in the coming by and by,” that is, as she grows old (Patience, 1881). [Early 1500s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.