Definitions

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

  • prep. Close to; next to: the window by the door.
  • prep. With the use or help of; through: We came by the back road.
  • prep. Up to and beyond; past: We drove by the house.
  • prep. At or to: stopped by the bakery; came by the house.
  • prep. In the period of; during: sleeping by day.
  • prep. Not later than: by 5:30 P.M.
  • prep. In the amount of: letters by the thousands.
  • prep. To the extent of: shorter by two inches.
  • prep. According to: played by the rules.
  • prep. With respect to: siblings by blood.
  • prep. In the name of: swore by the Bible to tell the truth.
  • prep. Through the agency or action of: was killed by a bullet.
  • prep. Used to indicate a succession of specified individuals, groups, or quantities: One by one they left. They were persuaded little by little.
  • prep. Used in multiplication and division: Multiply 4 by 6 to get 24.
  • prep. Used with measurements: a room 12 by 18 feet.
  • prep. Toward. Used to express direction with points of the compass: south by east.
  • adv. On hand; nearby: Stand by.
  • adv. Aside; away: We put it by for later.
  • adv. Up to, alongside, and past: The car raced by.
  • adv. At or to one's home or current location: Stop by later today.
  • adv. Into the past: as years go by.
  • idiom by oneself Without company; alone: went by herself.
  • idiom by oneself Without help: wrote the book by myself.
  • n. Variant of bye1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • prep. Near or next to.
  • prep. At some time before (the given time), or before the end of a given time interval.
  • prep. Indicates the actor in a clause with its verb in the passive voice Through the action or presence of.
  • prep. Indicates the creator of a work Existing through the authorship etc of.
  • prep. Indicates the cause of a condition or event Through the action of, caused by, responsibility for; by dint of.
  • prep. Indicates a means Involving/using the means of.
  • prep. Indicates a source of light (medium emanating from hot sources)
  • prep. Indicates a rule followed Using the rules or logic of.
  • prep. Indicates the amount of some progression With a change of.
  • prep. In the formulae X by X and by Xs, indicates a steady progression, one X after another.
  • prep. Indicates a referenced source According to.
  • prep. Indicates an oath With the authority of.
  • prep. Used to separate dimensions when describing the size of something.
  • adv. Along a path which runs by the speaker.
  • adv. In the vicinity, near.
  • adv. To or at a place, as a residence or place of business.
  • adv. Aside, away.
  • adj. Out of the way, subsidiary.
  • n. A pass
  • interj. Alternative spelling of bye.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prep. In the neighborhood of; near or next to; not far from; close to; along with.
  • prep. On; along; in traversing. Compare 5.
  • prep. Near to, while passing; hence, from one to the other side of; past.
  • prep. Used in specifying adjacent dimensions.
  • prep. Against.
  • prep. With, as means, way, process, etc.; through means of; with aid of; through; through the act or agency of; ; profit is made by commerce; to take by force.
  • adv. Near; in the neighborhood; present.
  • adv. Passing near; going past; past; beyond.
  • adv. Aside.
  • adj. Out of the common path; aside; -- used in composition, giving the meaning of something aside, secondary, or incidental, or collateral matter, a thing private or avoiding notice. It was formerly more freely used in composition than it is now

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • During the course of; within the compass or period of: as, by day; by night.
  • At (a terminal point of time); not later than; as early as: as, by this time the sun had risen; he will be here by two o'clock.
  • At a time; each separately or singly: as, one by one; two by two; piece by piece.
  • With reference to; in relation to; about; concerning; with: formerly especially after say, speak, etc., now chiefly after do, act, deal, etc.
  • Besides; over and above; beyond.
  • Without aid; by individual action exclusively: as, I did it all by myself.
  • [The adverbial use is not found in AS., and is rare in ME.] Near; in the same place with; at hand: often (before the verb always) qualified by a more definite adverb; as, near by; close by; hard by.
  • Aside; off.
  • Of motion: Across in front or alongside and beyond: as, the carriage went by.
  • Of time: In the past; over.
  • At once; straightway; immediately; then.
  • At some time in the future; before long; presently.
  • n. A thing not directly aimed at; something not the immediate object of regard: as, by the by (that is, by the way, in passing).
  • n. The condition of being odd, as opposed to even; the state of having no competitor in a contest where several are engaged in pairs.
  • n. In cricket, a run made on a ball not struck by the batsman, but which the wicket-keeper has failed to stop.
  • n. In the game of hide-and-seek, the goal: as, to touch the by.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A ring; a bracelet.
  • An obsolete spelling of buy.
  • 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-.
  • The adverb by used as a prefix.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. in reserve; not for immediate use
  • adv. so as to pass a given point

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English bī, be; see ambhi in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English  ("being near"). (Wiktionary)

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."

    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: Shuttle News: 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

  • 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)

  • "Was committed, a negro man, has a _scar_ on his right side by a burn, one on his knee, and one on the calf of his leg _by the bite of a dog_."

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 3 of 4

  • Dr. Griffith has so ably detailed the "features of disease" that we can do no better than to quote the following: [A] [A] From Griffith's _Care of the B.by_, copyrighted by W.B. Saunders

    The Mother and Her Child

Comments

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  • 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

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

    March 19, 2009