(noun, adjective, adverb, interjection, preposition)


1. Out of the way, subsidiary.


1. so as to pass a given point

Similar word(s): past

2. in reserve; not for immediate use

- put something by for her old age

Similar word(s): aside, away

Sentences with by as an adverb:

- I watched as it passed by.

- There was a shepherd close by.

- The shop is hard by the High Street.

- I'll stop by on my way home from work.

- We're right near the lifeguard station. Come by before you leave.

- The women spent much time after harvest putting jams by for winter and spring.


1. (card games) A pass


1. Near or next to.

- The mailbox is by the bus stop.

2. At some time before (the given time), or before the end of a given time interval.

- Be back by ten o'clock!  We will send it by the first week of July.

3. Indicates the actor in a clause with its verb in the passive voice: Through the action or presence of.

- The matter was decided by the chairman.  The boat was swamped by the water.  He was protected by his body armour.

4. Indicates the creator of a work: Existing through the authorship etc. of.

- There are many well-known plays by William Shakespeare

5. Indicates the cause of a condition or event: Through the action of, caused by, responsibility for; by dint of.

6. Indicates a means: Involving/using the means of.

- I avoided the guards by moving only when they weren't looking.

7. Indicates a source of light: Medium emanating from hot sources.

8. ​Indicates an authority, rule, or permission followed.

- I sorted the items by category.  By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife.

9. Indicates the amount of some progression: With a change of.

- Our stock is up by ten percent.

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.

12. Indicates an oath: With the authority of.

- By Jove! I think she's got it!  By all that is holy, I'll put an end to this.

13. 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.