• (British, America) enPR: bī, IPA: /baɪ/
  1. Near or next to.
    The mailbox is by the bus stop.
  2. From one side of something to the other, passing close by; past.
    The stream runs by our back door.
    He ran straight by me.
  3. Not later than (the given time); not later than the end of (the given time interval).
    Be back by ten o'clock!.
    We'll find someone by the end of March.
    We will send it by the first week of July.
  4. Indicates the person or thing that does or causes something: Through the action or presence of.
    1. With a passive verb.
      The matter was decided by the chairman.
      The boat was swamped by the water.
      He was protected by his body armour.
    2. With a noun.
      There was a call by the unions for a 30% pay rise.
    3. (not in common modern use) With an adjective.
      I was aghast by what I saw.
      • 1874, Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 2005 Barnes & Noble Classics publication of 1912 Wessex edition, p.109:
        In other directions the fields and sky were so much of one colour by the snow that it was difficult in a hasty glance to tell whereabouts the horizon occurred […].
  5. Indicates the creator of a work: Existing through the authorship etc. of.
    There are many well-known plays by William Shakespeare
  6. Indicates a means of achieving something: Involving/using the means of.
    I avoided the guards by moving only when they weren't looking.
    By Pythagoras' theorem, we can calculate the length of the hippopotamus.
    We went by bus.
    I discovered it by chance.
    By 'maybe' she means 'no'.
    The electricity was cut off, so we had to read by candlelight.
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter II, in The Squire’s Daughter, London: Methuen, OCLC 12026604 ↗; republished New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1919, OCLC 491297620 ↗:
      "I don't want to spoil any comparison you are going to make," said Jim, "but I was at Winchester and New College." ¶ "That will do," said Mackenzie. "I was dragged up at the workhouse school till I was twelve. Then I ran away and sold papers in the streets, and anything else that I could pick up a few coppers by—except steal. […]"
    • 1945, Neva L. Boyd, Handbook of Recreational Games, 1975 Dover edition, ISBN 0486232042, p.16 ↗:
      Players: Can we get there by candlelight? ¶ Gatekeepers: Yes and back again.
    • 1960, Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
      By the light of the moon, / by the light of a star / they walked all night
  7. Indicates an authority according to which something is done.
    By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife.
    1. Invokes an authority in an oath.
      By Jove! I think she's got it!
      By all that is holy, I'll put an end to this.
      • 1596-99, Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act V, scene i:
        By yonder moon I swear you do me wrong
  8. Indicates a means of classification or organisation.
    I sorted the items by category.
    Table 1 shows details of our employees broken down by sex and age.
  9. Indicates the amount of change, difference or discrepancy
    Our stock is up by ten percent.
    His date of birth was wrong by ten years.
  10. In the formulae X by X and by Xs, indicates a steady progression, one X after another.
    We went through the book page by page.
    We crawled forward by inches.
  11. Indicates a referenced source: According to.
    He cheated by his own admission.
    By my reckoning, we should be nearly there.
  12. Used to separate dimensions when describing the size of something.
    It is easy to invert a 2-by-2 matrix.
    The room was about 4 foot by 6 foot.
    The bricks used to build the wall measured 10 by 20 by 30 cm.
  13. (horse breeding) Designates a horse's male parent (sire); cf. out of.
    She's a lovely little filly, by Big Lad, out of Damsel in Distress.
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: par
  • German: bei
  • Italian: per
  • Portuguese: por
  • Russian: от имя
  • German: um
  • Italian: del, di
  • Portuguese: em
  • Russian: на
Translations Translations Adverb

by (not comparable)

  1. Along a path which runs past the speaker.
    I watched as it passed by.
  2. In the vicinity, near.
    There was a shepherd close by.
    The shop is hard by the High Street.
    • 1899 March, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number MI, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, […], OCLC 1042815524 ↗, part II:
      [The helmsman] steered with no end of a swagger while you were by; but if he lost sight of you, he became instantly the prey of an abject funk {{...}
  3. To or at a place, as a residence or place of business.
    I'll stop by on my way home from work.
    We're right near the lifeguard station. Come by before you leave.
  4. Aside, away.
    The women spent much time after harvest putting jams by for winter and spring.
Translations Adjective

by (not comparable)

  1. Out of the way, subsidiary.
Antonyms Noun

by (plural bys)

  1. Alternative form of bye#English|bye
  1. Alternative spelling of bye

This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.003
Offline English dictionary