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English definition of “stand by”

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stand by

verb phrasal verb with stand  /stænd/ ( past tense and past participle stood  /stʊd/) us  

(LET HAPPEN)

to let something happen or to be unable to prevent something: How could anyone simply stand by while the man was robbed? We stood by helplessly while the fire destroyed our barn.
(Definition of stand by phrasal verb, verb from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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