Meaning of BY in English

I. ˈbī, before consonants also bə preposition

Etymology: Middle English, preposition & adverb, from Old English, preposition, be, bī; akin to Old High German bī by, near, Latin ambi- on both sides, around, Greek amphi

Date: before 12th century

1. : in proximity to : near

standing by the window


a. : through or through the medium of : via

enter by the door

b. : in the direction of : toward

north by east

c. : into the vicinity of and beyond : past

went right by him


a. : during the course of

studied by night

b. : not later than

by 2 p.m.


a. : through the agency or instrumentality of

by force

b. : born or begot of

c. : sired or borne by

5. : with the witness or sanction of

swear by all that is holy


a. : in conformity with

acted by the rules

b. : according to

called her by name


a. : on behalf of

did right by his children

b. : with respect to

a lawyer by profession


a. : in or to the amount or extent of

win by a nose

b. chiefly Scottish : in comparison with : beside

9. — used as a function word to indicate successive units or increments

little by little

walk two by two

10. — used as a function word in multiplication, in division, and in measurements

divide a by b

multiply 10 by 4

a room 15 feet by 20 feet

11. : in the opinion of : from the point of view of

okay by me

- by the by

II. ˈbī adverb

Date: before 12th century


a. : close at hand : near

b. : at or to another's home

stop by

2. : past

saw him go by

3. : aside , away

III. adjective

or bye ˈbī

Date: 14th century

1. : being off the main route : side

2. : incidental

IV. noun

or bye ˈbī

( plural byes ˈbīz)

Date: 1567

: something of secondary importance : a side issue

V. interjection

or bye ˈbī

Etymology: short for goodbye

Date: 1709

— used to express farewell; often used with following now

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.