Etymology: Middle English, preposition & adverb, from Old English, preposition, be, bī; akin to Old High German bī by, near, Latin ambi- on both sides, around, Greek amphi
Date: before 12th century
1. in proximity to ; near <standing by the window> 2. a. through or through the medium of ; via <enter by the door> b. in the direction of ; toward <north by east> c. into the vicinity of and beyond ; past <went right by him> 3. a. during the course of <studied by night> b. not later than <by 2 p.m.> 4. a. through the agency or instrumentality of <by force> b. born or begot of c. sired or borne by 5. with the witness or sanction of <swear by all that is holy> 6. a. in conformity with <acted by the rules> b. according to <called her by name> 7. a. on behalf of <did right by his children> b. with respect to <a lawyer by profession> 8. a. in or to the amount or extent of <win by a nose> b. chiefly Scottish in comparison with ; beside 9. — used as a function word to indicate successive units or increments <little by little> <walk two by two> 10. — used as a function word in multiplication, in division, and in measurements <divide a by b> <multiply 10 by 4> <a room 15 feet by 20 feet> 11. in the opinion of ; from the point of view of <okay by me> II. adverb Date: before 12th century 1. a. close at hand ; near b. at or to another's home <stop by> 2. past <saw him go by> 3. aside, away III. adjective or bye Date: 14th century 1. being off the main route ; side 2. incidental IV. noun or bye (plural byes) Date: 1567 something of secondary importance ; a side issue V. interjection or bye Etymology: short for goodbye Date: 1709 — used to express farewell; often used with following now
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.