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standby

or stand-by

[stand-bahy]
See more synonyms for standby on Thesaurus.com
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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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adjective
  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.
  3. of or relating to a waiting period.
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Idioms
  1. on standby, in a state of readiness to act, respond, or be used immediately when needed.
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Origin of standby

First recorded in 1790–1800; noun, adj. use of verb phrase stand by
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for standby

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • So the apple came early to be a standby on the new continent.

    The Apple-Tree

    L. H. Bailey

  • Irish potatoes are expensive, as most of this standby is imported.

  • That's all you need to clear you of rescue and standby responsibility.

    Spillthrough

    Daniel F. Galouye

  • A standby pattern lighted the screen, and I stared at it numbly.

    Backlash

    Winston Marks

  • He had no trade as a standby; his whole endowment was his youth and his wits.

    In Clive's Command

    Herbert Strang