Meaning of BY in English


prep., adv., & n.


1. near, beside, in the region of (stand by the door; sit by me; path by the river).

2 through the agency, means, instrumentality, or causation of (by proxy; bought by a millionaire; a poem by Donne; went by bus; succeeded by persisting; divide four by two).

3 not later than; as soon as (by next week; by now; by the time he arrives).

4 a past, beyond (drove by the church; came by us). b passing through; via (went by Paris).

5 in the circumstances of (by day; by daylight).

6 to the extent of (missed by a foot; better by far).

7 according to; using as a standard or unit (judge by appearances; paid by the hour).

8 with the succession of (worse by the minute; day by day; one by one).

9 concerning; in respect of (did our duty by them; Smith by name; all right by me).

10 used in mild oaths (orig. as surely as one believes in) (by God; by gum; swear by all that is sacred).

11 placed between specified lengths in two directions (three feet by two).

12 avoiding, ignoring (pass by him; passed us by).

13 inclining to (north by north-west).


1. near (sat by, watching; lives close by).

2 aside; in reserve (put {pound}5 by).

3 past (they marched by).

--n. BYE.

Phrases and idioms:

by and by before long; eventually. by and large on the whole, everything considered. by the by (or bye) incidentally, parenthetically. by oneself

1. a unaided. b without prompting.

2 alone; without company.

Etymology: OE bi, bi, be f. Gmc

Oxford English vocab.      Оксфордский английский словарь.