First Name
<100
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
225
in the U.S.
in 2010
First
Last
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name By mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of By

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
preposition By
Senses
  1. In the neighborhood of; near or next to; not far from; close to; along with; as, come and sit by me." By foundation or by shady rivulet He sought them both." [Milton.]
  2. On; along; in traversing. Compare 5."Long labors both by sea and land he bore." [Dryden.]" By land, by water, they renew the charge." [Pope.]
  3. Near to, while passing; hence, from one to the other side of; past; as, to go by a church.
  4. Used in specifying adjacent dimensions; as, a cabin twenty feet by forty.
  5. Against.(Obs)
  6. With, as means, way, process, etc.; through means of; with aid of; through; through the act or agency of; as, a city is destroyed by fire; profit is made by commerce; to take by force.

Note: To the meaning of by, as denoting means or agency, belong, more or less closely, most of the following uses of the word: It points out the author and producer; as, “Waverley”, a novel by Sir W.Scott; a statue by Canova; a sonata by Beethoven. In an oath or adjuration, it indicates the being or thing appealed to as sanction; as, I affirm to you by all that is sacred; he swears by his faith as a Christian; no, by Heaven. According to; by direction, authority, or example of; after; -- in such phrases as, it appears by his account; ten o'clock by my watch; to live by rule; a model to build by. At the rate of; according to the ratio or proportion of; in the measure or quantity of; as, to sell cloth by the yard, milk by the quart, eggs by the dozen, meat by the pound; to board by the year. In comparison, it denotes the measure of excess or deficiency; when anything is increased or diminished, it indicates the measure of increase or diminution; as, larger by a half; older by five years; to lessen by a third. It expresses continuance or duration; during the course of; within the period of; as, by day, by night. As soon as; not later than; near or at; -- used in expressions of time; as, by this time the sun had risen; he will be here by two o'clock.

Note: In boxing the compass, by indicates a pint nearer to, or towards, the next cardinal point; as, north by east, i.e., a point towards the east from the north; northeast by east, i.e., on point nearer the east than northeast is.

Note: With is used instead of by before the instrument with which anything is done; as, to beat one with a stick; the board was fastened by the carpenter with nails. But there are many words which may be regarded as means or processes, or, figuratively, as instruments; and whether with or by shall be used with them is a matter of arbitrary, and often, of unsettled usage; as, to a reduce a town by famine; to consume stubble with fire; he gained his purpose by flattery; he entertained them with a story; he distressed us with or by a recital of his sufferings. see With.

Note: ☞ The common phrase good-by is equivalent to farewell, and would be better written good-bye, as it is a corruption of God be with you b'w'ye).

Etymology: OE. bi, AS. big, near to, by, of, from, after, according to; akin to OS. & OFries. bi be, D. bij, OHG. , G. bei, Goth. bi, and perh. Gr. 'amfi`. E. prefix be- is orig. the same word. √203. See (pref.) Be-

adverb By
Senses
  1. Near; in the neighborhood; present; as, there was no person by at the time.
  2. Passing near; going past; past; beyond; as, the procession has gone by; a bird flew by .
  3. Aside; as, to lay by; to put by .
adjective By
Out of the common path; aside; -- used in composition, giving the meaning of something aside, secondary, or incidental, or collateral matter, a thing private or avoiding notice; as, by-line, by-place, by-play, by-street. It was formerly more freely used in composition than it is now; as, by-business, by-concernment, by-design, by-interest, etc.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. In reserve; not for immediate use ("put something by for her old age")
  2. So as to pass a given point
Wiktionary

From Middle English by, bi, from Old English (“by; near; around”), from Proto-Germanic *bi (“near; by; around; about”). Cognate with West Frisian by (“by; near”), Afrikaans by (“at; by; near”), Saterland Frisian bie (“near; by”), Dutch bij (“near; by”), German Low German bi (“by; near; at”), German bei (“by; near; at”).

  1. (card games) A pass

by was also found in the following language(s): Afrikaans, Czech, Danish, Japanese, Lojban, Lower Sorbian, Middle English, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Polish, Swedish, and West Frisian

Notable Persons Named By

By Speece was a baseball player. By was born on January 6th, 1897 in West Baden Springs, Indiana. He breathed his last breath on September 29th, 1974.

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By the Fireside is an experimental music and alternative rock record producer and singer-songwriter. He plays Guitar, Keyboard instrument, and Vocals. His career lasted from 2004 to 2004. By was given the name By The Fireside . By is also known as BTF.

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By was born on May 2nd, 1910. He breathed his last breath on April 12th, 2001.

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Notable Persons With the Last Name By

John By was an engineer. John was born on August 7th, 1779 in Lambeth, London, England. He died on February 1st, 1836.

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Holocaust was born in Wildflecken.

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Where is the name By popular?

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Popularity of By as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name By as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in New York, Texas, or Wyoming.

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity By U.S.
  White 16.00% 64.26%
  African American 12.89% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 64.00% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 3.56% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 3.56% 16.26%

Of Last Name By

People with the last name By are most frequently White, African American, or Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name By

  • How Popular is the name By? As a last name By was the 83,541st most popular name in 2010.
  • When was the first name By first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name By is Thursday, September 5th, 1889.
  • How unique is the name By? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name By. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name By: Your name in reverse order is Yb. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Yb. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name By? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 225 people with the last name By.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of By? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with By as their last name since less than 1 person in 1.3m people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.