Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • preposition Close to; next to.
  • preposition With the use or help of; through.
  • preposition Up to and beyond; past.
  • preposition At or to.
  • preposition In the period of; during.
  • preposition Not later than.
  • preposition In the amount of.
  • preposition To the extent of.
  • preposition According to.
  • preposition With respect to.
  • preposition In the name of.
  • preposition Through the agency or action of.
  • preposition Used to indicate a succession of specified individuals, groups, or quantities.
  • preposition Used in multiplication and division.
  • preposition Used with measurements.
  • preposition Toward. Used to express direction with points of the compass.
  • adverb On hand; nearby.
  • adverb Aside; away.
  • adverb Up to, alongside, and past.
  • adverb At or to one's home or current location.
  • adverb Into the past.
  • idiom (by oneself) Without company; alone.
  • idiom (by oneself) Without help.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A town; habitation; dwelling: now extant only in place-names, especially in the north of England, as in Derby (Anglo-Saxon Deóra bȳ, literally ‘dwelling of deer’), Whitby, etc.
  • noun A thing not directly aimed at; something not the immediate object of regard: as, by the by (that is, by the way, in passing).
  • noun The condition of being odd, as opposed to even; the state of having no competitor in a contest where several are engaged in pairs.
  • noun In cricket, a run made on a ball not struck by the batsman, but which the wicket-keeper has failed to stop.
  • noun In the game of hide-and-seek, the goal: as, to touch the by.
  • noun A ring; a bracelet.
  • An obsolete variant of be.
  • An obsolete variant of bi-, be- (unaccented). See be-.
  • The modern form of bi-, be-, under the accent, as in byspell, byword, etc.
  • An obsolete variant of bi-, be-.
  • Near; close to; beside; with; about: as, sit by me; the house stands by a river.
  • Near, or up to and beyond, with reference to motion; past: as, to move or go by a church.
  • Along (in direction or progress); in or through (the course of); over or alongside of: as, to approach a town by the highway.
  • On; upon; especially, through or on as a means of conveyance: as, he journeyed both by water and by rail.
  • Through. Through the action or operation of, as the immediate agent or the producing or instigating cause: as, the empire founded by Napoleon; a novel written by Cooper; the victories gained by Nelson; a picture painted by Rubens.
  • With the perception of, as the subject or recipient of the action or feeling: as, he died regretted by all who knew him; this was felt by them to be an intentional slight. Through the means or agency of, as the intermediate agent or instrument: as, the city was destroyed by fire.
  • Through the use of; with the aid of, as means: as, to take by force; by your leave.
  • In consequence of; by virtue of.
  • In adjuration: Before; in the presence of; with the witness of; with regard to things, in view of, in consideration of: followed by the name of the being or thing appealed to as sanction: as, I appeal to you by all that is sacred.
  • According to; by direction, authority, example, or evidence of: as, this appears by his own account; it is ten o'clock by my watch; these are good rules to live by.
  • In the measure or quantity of; in the terms of: as, to sell cloth by the yard, milk by the quart, eggs by the dozen, beef by the pound; to board by the week.
  • In comparison: To the extent of: noting mensuration or the measure or ratio of excess or inferiority: as, largerby a half; older by five years; to lessen by a third.
  • Multiplied into: noting the relation of one dimension to another (in square or cubic measure): as, five feet by four, that is, measuring five feet in one direction and four feet in the other.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English bī, be; see ambhi in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English  ("being near").

Examples

  • As a check, ask yourself, "How would my choice of clothing be perceived by my Heavenly Parents..by my earthly parents...by someone with unchecked lustful thoughts."

    Growing Up - Learning Modesty in Dress

  • As a check, ask yourself, "How would my choice of clothing be perceived by my Heavenly Parents..by my earthly parents...by someone with unchecked lustful thoughts."

    Archive 2009-05-17

  • STS-117:¬† Manifesting of FDRD will slip by 2 weeks to 31 March, but the Compatibility and Cargo Integration Reviews will only slip by¬†1 week.

    NASA Watch: Keith Cowing: February 2005 Archives

  • Me: “So the confidence interval for the parametric equation can be found by the log of the hazard ratio plus or minus the Z-score times one divided by…”

    qdiosa Diary Entry

  • His argument can be understood as follows: since Anomalous Monism insists that mental events have physical properties that can be related, by strict law, to the effects of those events, and also insists that such events 'mental properties cannot be so related, it is only ˜by virtue™ of its physical (i.e. strict lawlike) properties that a mental event causes what it does.

    Anomalous Monism

  • STS-117:¬† Manifesting of FDRD will slip by 2 weeks to 31 March, but the Compatibility and Cargo Integration Reviews will only slip by¬†1 week.

    NASA Watch: Shuttle News: February 2005 Archives

  • Undoubtedly Ronald Dworkin will want to correct what seems like a clear error when he writes, "Only the most naïve theories of statutory construction could argue that such a result [forbidding action such as that taken by the University of California, Davis Medical School] is required by… the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

    The Bakke Case: An Exchange

  • This spirit is strengthened by the courage and inspiration of our leaders and colleagues in South Africa's jails - on Robben Island and elsewhere; by revolutionaries of the calibre of James April, by the vast mass of silent, invisible supporters of the struggle who form part of the ANC underground all over South Africa; by~ the militant morale of activists and leaders released at the end of their long terms of imprisonment.

    January 8 Statement - 1972

  • The truth is, that the accumulation of the animal spirits must be thrown off by exercise, whether the parent or teacher wills it or no; and if the children are not taught to do this _by rule_, as in dancing, they will do it without rule, and perhaps beyond the proper limit, both as to time, place, and quantity.

    A Practical Enquiry into the Philosophy of Education

  • Learning, and Ignorance of the Antients, told him at last, _That if Mr. _Shakespear_ had not read the Antients, he had likewise not stollen any thing from 'em; _ (a Fault the other made no Confidence of) _and that if he would produce any one Topick finely treated by any of them, he would undertake to shew something upon the same Subject at least as well written by_ Shakespear.

    Some Account of the Life of Mr. William Shakespear (1709)

Comments

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  • The description says adverb, but isnt this a preposition?

    March 19, 2009

  • Chicago slang: at someone's home, place of work, or similar location. This use of 'by' parallels the French word chez but more likley derives from the German and also Yiddish bei. Examples: We're coming by you tonight. How's by you? I hear they're laying off people by you.

    July 16, 2009