Definitions and meaning of by
- bye (archaic for preposition and adverb, not used for abbreviation, preferred for noun and interjection)
From Middle English by, bi, from Old English bī (“by; near; around”), from Proto-Germanic *bi (“near; by; around; about”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁epi. Cognate with West Frisian by (“by; near”), Afrikaans by (“at; by; near”), Saterland Frisian bie (“near; by”), Dutch bij (“near; by”), German Low German bi (“by; near; at”), German bei (“by; near; at”).
- (UK, US) enPR: bī, IPA(key): /baɪ/
- Rhymes: -aɪ
- Homophones: bi, bye, buy
- Near or next to.
- From one side of something to the other, passing close by; past.
- Not later than (the given time); not later than the end of (the given time interval).
- Indicates the person or thing that does or causes something: Through the action or presence of.
- Following a passive verb.
- Following a noun.
- There was a call by the unions for a 30% pay rise.
- (not in common modern use) Following an adjective.
- I was aghast by what I saw.
- 1874, Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 2005 Barnes & Noble Classics publication of 1912 Wessex edition, p.109:
- In other directions the fields and sky were so much of one colour by the snow that it was difficult in a hasty glance to tell whereabouts the horizon occurred […].
- Indicates the creator of a work: Existing through the authorship etc. of.
- Indicates a means of achieving something: Involving/using the means of.
- The electricity was cut off, so we had to read by candlelight.
- "I don't want to spoil any comparison you are going to make," said Jim, "but I was at Winchester and New College." ¶ "That will do," said Mackenzie. "I was dragged up at the workhouse school till I was twelve. Then I ran away and sold papers in the streets, and anything else that I could pick up a few coppers by—except steal. […]"
- 1945, Neva L. Boyd, Handbook of Recreational Games, 1975 Dover edition, →ISBN, p.16:
- Players: Can we get there by candlelight? ¶ Gatekeepers: Yes and back again.
- 1960, Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
- By the light of the moon, / by the light of a star / they walked all night
- Indicates an authority according to which something is done.
- Invokes an authority in an oath.
- 1596-99, Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act V, scene i:
- By yonder moon I swear you do me wrong
- Indicates a means of classification or organisation.
- Indicates the amount of change, difference or discrepancy
- In the formulae X by X and by Xs, indicates a steady progression, one X after another.
- Indicates a referenced source: According to.
- Used to separate dimensions when describing the size of something.
- (horse breeding) Designates a horse's male parent (sire); cf. out of.
- She's a lovely little filly, by Big Lad, out of Damsel in Distress.
by (not comparable)
- Along a path which runs past the speaker.
- I watched as it passed by.
- In the vicinity, near.
- There was a shepherd close by.
- The shop is hard by the High Street.
- To or at a place, as a residence or place of business.
- I'll stop by on my way home from work.
- We're right near the lifeguard station. Come by before you leave.
- Aside, away.
- The women spent much time after harvest putting jams by for winter and spring.
by (not comparable)
- Out of the way, subsidiary.
(Can we add an example for this sense?)
by (plural bys)
- Alternative form of bye
- Alternative spelling of bye
From Dutch bij, from Middle Dutch bi, from Old Dutch bī.
From Dutch bij, from Middle Dutch bie, from Old Dutch *bīa.
by (plural bye)
- third-person singular conditional subjunctive of být; would
- (clipping, informal); would
- In formal language, it is used for the third person of the infinitive být, both singular and plural and with the second person of the verb být.
- In colloquial Czech, by is commonly used in place of other conditional forms of být in both singular and plural if the subject is deducible from context (from the conjugated form of the verb). That is, by is a shared shorthand for bych, bys, bychom and byste.
- by in Příruční slovník jazyka českého, 1935–1957
- by in Slovník spisovného jazyka českého, 1960–1971, 1989
From Old Norse býr, bœr (settlement).
by c (singular definite byen, plural indefinite byer)
- town, city
- by on the Danish Wikipedia.Wikipedia da
Borrowed from English by.
by • (bai)
- (informal) Used to sign off a message/attribute a text.
- 2002, 
- ココにはバッファから生成したMAPのTEXTURE希望 by JAMAD
- 2007, 『さよなら絶望先生』 第5話
- 己を知らされば、戦う毎に必ず殆し。by 孫子
- 2009, 『けいおん！』 第4話
- めざせ武道館！！ by 軽音部！
by (defective, invariable)
- would (used with the past active participle to form a conditional)
This verb may be omitted before the past active participles of móc (“be able to”), kśěś (“want to”), and dejaś (“ought to”).
- aby (“that...would”)
- gaby (“if...would”)
- gdyby (“if...would”)
- njeby (“would not”)
- by in Ernst Muka/Mucke (St. Petersburg and Prague 1911–28): Słownik dolnoserbskeje rěcy a jeje narěcow / Wörterbuch der nieder-wendischen Sprache und ihrer Dialekte. Reprinted 2008, Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag.
- by in Manfred Starosta (1999): Dolnoserbsko-nimski słownik / Niedersorbisch-deutsches Wörterbuch. Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag.
by (triggers lenition)
- past/conditional of s'
- (dated) Past and conditional form of s' (used to introduce the comparative and superlative form of adjectives)
From Old Norse býr (“place (to camp or settle), land, property, lot; and later settlement”).
by m (definite singular byen, indefinite plural byer, definite plural byene)
- town, city (regardless of population size or land area)
From byde, from Old Norse bjóða, from Proto-Germanic *beudaną (“to offer”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰewdʰ- (“to wake, rise up”).
by (imperative by, present tense byr, simple past bød or bøy or bydde, past participle budt or bydd)
- to bid; offer
- to ask; invite
- to command; order
- “by” in The Bokmål Dictionary.
- IPA(key): /byː/ (example of pronunciation)
From Old Norse býr m, bœr m (“place (to camp or settle), land, property, lot; and later settlement”).
by m (definite singular byen, indefinite plural byar, definite plural byane)
- town, city (regardless of population size or land area)
From Old Norse bjóða, from Proto-Germanic *beudaną (“to offer”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰewdʰ- (“to wake, rise up”). Akin to English bid
by (present tense byr, past tense baud or bydde, supine bode or bydd or bydt, past participle boden or bydd, present participle bydande, imperative by)
- to command, order
- Eg byd deg å stoppe.
- I command you to stop.
- to bid, offer
- Eg byd deg 100 kroner.
- I offer you a 100 NOK.
- to offer
- Bestemor baud på småkaker.
- Granny offered us cookies.
- “by” in The Nynorsk Dictionary.
- (always before a verb) a particle used to make conditional mood; would, should
- On by tam nie poszedł. = On nie poszedłby tam. — He would not go there.
- in order to, so that
- by in Wielki słownik języka polskiego, Instytut Języka Polskiego PAN
- by in Polish dictionaries at PWN
From Middle English bi, from Old English bi, from Proto-West Germanic *bī. Cognates include English by and Yola bee.
- IPA(key): [ˈbɪ], [ˈbə]
- (emphatic) IPA(key): [ˈbɑɪ̯]
- (in comparisons) than
- by, nearby
- by (the time that)
From Old Swedish bȳr, bȳ (“village, farm, town”), from Old Norse býr. Cognate with Danish by (“town, city”, whence also Faroese býur with the same meaning), Norwegian Bokmål by (“town, city”) and Norwegian Nynorsk by (“town, city”).
- (obsolete) farm
- (obsolete) town, city
From Dutch bui or Low German bö, böe, böje. Cognate with Danish byge, Norwegian Bokmål byge, bøye and Norwegian Nynorsk bye, bøye.
- gust, rush of wind
- by in Elof Hellquist, Svensk etymologisk ordbok (1st ed., 1922)
- by in Nationalencyklopedin (needs an authorization fee).
- by in Svenska Akademiens ordbok (SAOB)
- (Clay) IPA(key): /bɛi̯/
- (Wood) IPA(key): /bi/
- near to
- in relation to
- “by”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011
- a pass to the next round (of a competition, etc.).
(source: Collins Scrabble Dictionary)