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English definition of “by”

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by

preposition uk   /baɪ/ us  

by preposition (AGENT)

A2 used to show the person or thing that does something: The motorcycle was driven by a tiny bald man. We were amazed by what she told us. I'm reading some short stories (written) by Chekhov. The book was translated by a well-known author. I felt frightened by the anger in his voice.
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by preposition (METHOD)

A2 used to show how something is done: They travelled across Europe by train/car. She did the decorating (all) by herself (= alone, without help from anyone). We went in by (= through) the front door. Do you want to be paid in cash or by cheque? He learned English by listening to the radio. Suddenly, she grabbed him by the arm (= took hold of this part of his body). I refuse to live by (= following) their rules.
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by preposition (POSITION)

B1 near or at the side of: A small child stood sullenly by her side. He wanted to keep her close by him always. The policewoman walked by (= past) them without saying a word.
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by preposition (NOT LATER THAN)

A2 not later than; at or before: She had promised to be back by five o'clock. The application must be in by the 31st to be accepted. By the time I got to the station the train had already gone.
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by preposition (MEASUREMENT)

B2 used to show measurements or amounts: Our office floor space measured twelve metres by ten (= was twelve metres in one direction and ten in the other). Their wages were increased by 15 percent. Freelance workers are paid by the hour (= for every hour they work). These phones have sold by the thousand (= several thousand have been sold).minute by minute/hour by hour/day by day, etc. ( also by the minute/hour/day, etc.) used to say that something increases or changes with every minute, hour, day, etc. that passes: The death toll from the hurricane was climbing minute by minute/by the minute. The credibility of the campaign has deterioriated month by month/by the month.minute-by-minute/hour-by-hour, etc. describing or showing what happens every minute, hour, etc.: a minute-by-minute timeline of the incident The book paints a detailed, week-by-week portrait of his father's illness.

by preposition (DURING)

during: We travelled by night and rested by day.
by nature, profession, trade, etc. used when describing someone's character, job, etc.: She is, by nature, a sunny, positive kind of person. He's a plumber by trade. She was, by profession, a lawyer.
be all right/fine by sb If something is all right/fine by someone, they agree that it can happen: "I'd rather go later." "That's fine by me." If it's all right by you, I'd like to leave now.

by

(Definition of by from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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