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English definition of “by”

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by

preposition
 
 
strong /baɪ/ weak /, /
DO A2 used to show the person or thing that does something: She was examined by a doctor. The building had been destroyed by fire. a painting by Van GoghCausing things to happen
HOW A2 through doing or using something: Can I pay by cheque? I sent it by email. We'll get there by car. [+ doing sth] Open the file by clicking on the icon.Causing things to happen
HOLDING B2 holding a particular part of someone or something: She grabbed me by the arm.Having in your hands
NEAR B1 near or next to something or someone: I'll meet you by the post office. A small child stood by her side.Next to and beside
NOT LATER A2 not later than a particular time or date: Applications have to be in by the 31st.Before, after and alreadyAfter and behind
ACCORDING TO according to: By law you must be eighteen to purchase alcohol.Being based on or depending on somethingQuoting and making references
PAST past: He sped by me on a motorcycle.General words for movement
AMOUNT used to show measurements or amounts: twelve by ten metres of floor space Interest rates have been increased by 0.25%. I'm paid by the hour. Copies have sold by the million.Weighing and measuring
by accident/chance/mistake, etc B1 as a result of an accident/chance/mistake, etc: I went to the wrong room by mistake.Not expected or planned
by day/night during the day/nightRelating to regular periods of time
day by day/little by little/one by one, etc used in particular phrases to mean 'gradually' or 'in units of': Day by day he grew stronger.Slow and moving slowly
(Definition of by preposition from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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