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by-and-by

[ bahy-uhn-bahy ]
/ ˌbaɪ ənˈbaɪ /
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noun

the future: to meet in the sweet by-and-by.

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Origin of by-and-by

1300–50; Middle English bi and bi one by one, at once. See by1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use by-and-by in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for by-and-by

by and by

adverb

presently or eventually

noun by-and-by

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

Idioms and Phrases with by-and-by

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.
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