Idiomsby and by, before long; soon, or eventually; in time:We'll understand it all, by and by.
Idiomsby and large, in general; on the whole:We have a good school, by and large.
(all) by oneself, alone:She changed the flat tire all by herself.
Compare by and with when referring to how an action is done. We use by to refer to a description of an action, often with the -ing form of the verb: I took the wheel off by jacking up the car and loosening the nuts. We use with before the tool we use to do the action: I took the wheel off with the jack handle and loosened the nuts with a wrench.
over the surface of, through the medium of, along, or using as a route:He came by the highway. She arrived by air.
on, as a means of conveyance:They arrived by ship.
to and beyond the vicinity of; past:He went by the church.
within the extent or period of; during:by day; by night.
not later than; at or before:I usually finish work by five o'clock.
to the extent or amount of:The new tug is larger than the old one by a great deal. He's taller than his sister by three inches.
from the opinion, evidence, or authority of:By his own account he was in Chicago at the time. I know him by sight.
according to; in conformity with:This is a bad movie by any standards.
with (something) at stake; on:to swear by all that is sacred.
through the agency, efficacy, work, participation, or authority of:The book was published by Random House.
from the hand, mind, invention, or creativity of:She read a poem by Emily Dickinson. The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison.
in consequence, as a result, or on the basis of:We met by chance. We won the game by forfeit.
accompanied with or in the atmosphere of:Lovers walk by moonlight.
in treatment or support of; for:He did well by his children.
after; next after, as of the same items in a series:piece by piece; little by little.
Mathematics(in multiplication) taken the number of times as that specified by the second number, or multiplier:Multiply 18 by 57.
(in measuring shapes) having an adjoining side of, as a width relative to a length:a room 10 feet by 12 feet.
Mathematics(in division) separated into the number of equal parts as that specified by the second number, or divisor:Divide 99 by 33.
in terms or amounts of; in measuring units of:Apples are sold by the bushel. I'm paid by the week.
begot or born of:Eve had two sons by Adam.
(of quadrupeds) having as a sire:Equipoise II by Equipoise.
Nautical, Naval Terms[Navig.](as used in the names of the 16 smallest points on the compass) one point toward the east, west, north, or south of N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, or NW, respectively:He sailed NE by N from Pago Pago.
into, at, or to:Come by my office this afternoon.
near; in the immediate vicinity; at hand:The school is close by.
to and beyond a point near something; past:The car drove by.
aside; away:Put your work by for the moment. Over the years, she laid by enough money to retire.
over; past:in times gone by.
Idiomsby and by, in a short time; before long; presently:The clouds will disappear by and by.
Idiomsby and large, in general; on the whole:By and large, there is much to be said for the new system.
(in bridge and other bidding card games) a declaration that the speaker is passing.
(in poker) a declaration that the speaker is checking:Is my pair of tens still high? By me.
adj. Also, bye.
situated to one side:They came down a by passage.
secondary, incidental:It was only a by comment.
Idiomsby the by. See bye1 (def. 5).
bef. 900; Middle English; Old English bī; cognate with Dutch bij, Old High German bī (German bei), Gothic bi. See be-
11.See corresponding entry in UnabridgedBy,through,with indicate agency or means of getting something done or accomplished. By is regularly used to denote the agent (person or force) in passive constructions:It is done by many; destroyed by fire.It also indicates means:Send it by airmail.With denotes the instrument (usually consciously) employed by an agent:He cut it with the scissors.Through designates particularly immediate agency or instrumentality or reason or motive:through outside aid; to yield through fear; wounded through carelessness.
good-bye:By now, come again sometime!
a combining form of by1:by-product;bystander;byway.