or stand-by


noun, plural stand·bys.

a staunch supporter or adherent; one who can be relied upon.
something upon which one can rely and therefore choose or use regularly.
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.
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.



    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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for standby

Contemporary Examples of standby

Historical Examples of standby

  • 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.


    Daniel F. Galouye

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


    Winston Marks

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

    In Clive's Command

    Herbert Strang