Meaning of by


Pronunciation: (bī), [key]
— prep., adv., adj., n., pl. byes.
  1. near to or next to: a home by a lake.
  2. over the surface of, through the medium of, along, or using as a route: He came by the highway. She arrived by air.
  3. on, as a means of conveyance: They arrived by ship.
  4. to and beyond the vicinity of; past: He went by the church.
  5. within the extent or period of; during: by day; by night.
  6. not later than; at or before: I usually finish work by five o'clock.
  7. to the extent or amount of: The new tug is larger than the old one by a great deal. He's taller than his sister by three inches.
  8. from the opinion, evidence, or authority of: By his own account he was in Chicago at the time. I know him by sight.
  9. according to; in conformity with: This is a bad movie by any standards.
  10. with (something) at stake; on: to swear by all that is sacred.
  11. through the agency, efficacy, work, participation, or authority of: The book was published by Random House.
  12. from the hand, mind, invention, or creativity of: She read a poem by Emily Dickinson. The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison.
  13. in consequence, as a result, or on the basis of: We met by chance. We won the game by forfeit.
  14. accompanied with or in the atmosphere of: Lovers walk by moonlight.
  15. in treatment or support of; for: He did well by his children.
  16. after; next after, as of the same items in a series: piece by piece; little by little.
  17. (in multiplication) taken the number of times as that specified by the second number, or multiplier: Multiply 18 by 57.
  18. (in measuring shapes) having an adjoining side of, as a width relative to a length: a room 10 feet by 12 feet.
  19. (in division) separated into the number of equal parts as that specified by the second number, or divisor: Divide 99 by 33.
  20. in terms or amounts of; in measuring units of: Apples are sold by the bushel. I'm paid by the week.
  21. begot or born of: Eve had two sons by Adam.
  22. (of quadrupeds) having as a sire: Equipoise II by Equipoise.
  23. (as used in the names of the 16 smallest points on the compass) one point toward the east, west, north, or south of N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, or NW, respectively: He sailed NE by N from Pago Pago.
  24. into, at, or to: Come by my office this afternoon.
  1. near; in the immediate vicinity; at hand: The school is close by.
  2. to and beyond a point near something; past: The car drove by.
  3. aside; away: Put your work by for the moment. Over the years, she laid by enough money to retire.
  4. over; past: in times gone by.
  5. in a short time; before long; presently: The clouds will disappear by and by.
  6. in general; on the whole: By and large, there is much to be said for the new system.
  7. Is my pair of tens still high? By me.
    1. (in bridge and other bidding card games) a declaration that the speaker is passing.
    2. (in poker) a declaration that the speaker is checking:Is my pair of tens still high? By me.
  1. bye.
  2. See (def. 5).


Pronunciation: (bī), [key]
— interj.
  1. good-bye: By now, come again sometime!


Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a combining form of: by-product; bystander; byway.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
See also:
  • by (Thesaurus)