or stand-by

[ stand-bahy ]
See synonyms for standby on
noun,plural stand·bys.
  1. a staunch supporter or adherent; one who can be relied upon.

  2. something upon which one can rely and therefore choose or use regularly.

  1. something or someone held ready to serve as a substitute, especially a radio or television program used as a filler in case of cancellation of a regularly scheduled program.

  2. a traveler who is waiting for last-minute accommodations to become available on a plane, train, or other transport as a result of a cancellation.

  1. kept readily available for use in an emergency, shortage, or the like: a standby player.

  2. of or relating to last-minute accommodations, the transport that offers them, or a traveler who is waiting for them: a standby flight.

  1. of or relating to a waiting period.

Idioms about standby

  1. on standby, in a state of readiness to act, respond, or be used immediately when needed.

Origin of standby

First recorded in 1790–1800; noun, adj. use of verb phrase stand by

Words Nearby standby Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use standby in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stand by

stand by

  1. (intr, adverb) to be available and ready to act if needed or called upon

  2. (intr, adverb) to be present as an onlooker or without taking any action: he stood by at the accident

  1. (intr, preposition) to be faithful to: to stand by one's principles

  2. (tr, adverb) English law (of the Crown) to challenge (a juror) without needing to show cause

    • a person or thing that is ready for use or can be relied on in an emergency

    • (as modifier): stand-by provisions

  1. on stand-by in a state of readiness for action or use

  1. (of an airline passenger, fare, or seat) not booked in advance but awaiting or subject to availability

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 standby


Be ready or available to act, as in I'm almost ready for you to carve the turkey, so please stand by. [Mid-1200s]

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