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View synonyms for by-and-by

by-and-by

[ bahy-uhn-bahy ]

noun

  1. the future:

    to meet in the sweet by-and-by.



by and by

adverb

  1. presently or eventually


noun

  1. a future time or occasion
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Word History and Origins

Origin of by-and-by1

1300–50; Middle English bi and bi one by one, at once. See by
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Idioms and Phrases

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]
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Example Sentences

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.

In fact it went on looking better and better, straight along—until by-and-by it grew into positive proof.

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.

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Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com 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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Byam Shawby and large