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Bible Dictionaries

King James Dictionary


BY, prep.

1. Near close as, sit by me that house stands by a river.

L. pressus.

2. Near, in motion as, to move, go or pass by a church. But it seems, in other phrases,or with a verb in the past time, to signify past, gone beyond. "The procession is gone by " "the hour is gone by " "John went by." We now use past as an equivalent word. The procession is gone past. Gone by is in strictness tautology, as now used but I apprehend by signifies primarily near.
3. Through, or with, denoting the agent, means, instrument or cause as, "a city is destroyed by fire " "profit is made by commerce " "to take by force." This use answers to that of the Latin per, through, denoting a passing, acting, agency, or instrumentality.
4. "Day by day " "year by year " "article by article." In these phrases, by denotes passing from one to another, or each particular separately taken.
5. "By the space of seven years." In this phrase, by denotes through, passing or continuing, during.
6. "By this time, the sun had risen." The word here seems to denote, at, present or come to.
7. According to as, "this appears by his own account " "these are good rules to live by."
8. On as, "to pass by land or water " "great battles by sea and land." In the latter phrase, at or on might be substituted for by.
9. It is placed before words denoting quantity, measure or proportion as, to sell by the pound to work by the rod or perch this line is longer by a tenth.
10. It is used to represent the means or instrument of swearing, or affirming as, to swear by heaven, or by earth to affirm by all that is sacred.
11. In the phrase, "he has a cask of wine by him," by denotes nearness or presence.
12. "To sit by one's self," is to sit alone, or without company.
13. "To be present by attorney." In this phrase, by denotes means or instrument through or in the presence of a substitute.
14. In the phrase, "North by West," the sense seems to be north passing to the west, inclining or going westward, or near west.

As an adverb, by denotes also nearness, or presence as, there was no person by, at the time. But some noun is understood. So in the phrase, "to pass or go by," there is a noun understood.

By and by is a phrase denoting nearness in time in a short time after presently soon.

When persecution ariseth, because of the word, by and by, he is offended. Math 13

By the by signifies, as we proceed or pass.

To stand by, is to stand near, or to support.

By in lullaby, and in the nursery, a word used in lulling infants to sleep, is evidently allied to words found in many languages, signifying to rest, or be quiet, or to appease that is, to press, to stop. L.paco.

By or bye, in by-law.

In the common phrase, good-bye, bye signifies passing, going. The phrase signifies, a good going, a prosperous passage, and it is precisely equivalent to farewell.

By is used in many compound words, in most of which we observe the sense of nearness, closeness, or a withdrawing or seclusion.

Copyright Statement
Dictionary of Words from the King James Bible. Public Domain. Copy freely.
Material presented was supplied by Brandon Staggs and was derived from the KJV Dictionary found on his website located at
The unabridged 1828 version of this dictionary in the SwordSearcher Bible Software.

Bibliography Information
Entry for 'By'. King James Dictionary.

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