drop by

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Also, drop in or over. Pay a brief, casual, and usually unannounced visit. For example, I asked her to drop by whenever she was in the neighborhood, or Joan loves to have friends drop in, or We'd love to drop over but we haven't time on this trip. The first term dates from the first half of the 1900s; drop in is from the mid-1600s and drop over from the late 1800s.

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


What does drop by mean?

Drop by means to briefly or casually visit a place or to stay there for a short time.

A person who drops by a place doesn’t stay there for very long, as in She promised to at least drop by whenever she was in town. 

Sometimes, the phrase implies that it is done as one of several stops, as in I might drop by the post office on my way to the grocery store.

The similar phrases drop in, drop over, stop by, stop in, and stop over all mean the same thing, as in Janet dropped in just to say hello. 

In many cases, these terms imply that the visit was unannounced or unexpected, as in You’ll never guess who dropped by earlier. 

Example: Did your sister every drop by to get that saw that we borrowed?

Where does drop by come from?

The first records of the verb phrase drop by come from the first half of the 1900s. Drop in is much older, having been used since the 1600s. The first records of drop over come from the 1800s.

Usually, to drop by is to stop some place temporarily—or at least it’s intended or implied to be a temporary stop. In many cases, when a person drops by a place, it’s as one of multiple stops they are making. Sometimes, though, when a person says they are going to drop by, the visit ends up being much longer than anticipated. On the other hand, drop by is sometimes used when a person doesn’t want to or can’t commit to visiting, as in I might drop by today if I get the chance.

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What are some synonyms for drop by?

What are some words that share a root or word element with drop by

What are some words that often get used in discussing drop by?

How is drop by used in real life?

Drop by is typically used in the context of short visits or brief stays. It sometimes implies that such a visit was unannounced.



Try using drop by!

Is drop by used correctly in the following sentence?

My cousin dropped by for tea but he had to leave for an appointment.

How to use drop by in a sentence

  • Every maitre'd and restaurateur is hoping for a drop-by: After all, the Obama food chain means big bucks.

    First Food Critics|Sandra McElwaine|May 30, 2009|DAILY BEAST
  • The ecstasies and agonies of love, the agonies and ecstasies of fear and doubt and drop-by-drop fulfillment, realization.