Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “stand by”

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)
What is the pronunciation of stand by?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “stand by” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

hoppy

like hops (= dried fruit used to make beer)

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More