Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

go by - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theygo by
he/she/itgoes by
present participlegoing by
past tensewent by
past participlegone by
  1. 1
    [intransitive] if time goes by, it passes

    Last month went by so fast.

  2. 2
    [transitive] go by something to accept what someone or something says when you are deciding what to do or think

    Going by what Tim said, we should be there by mid-afternoon.

    go by the book (=obey rules without considering whether they are right):

    Police officers protect themselves from criticism by going by the book.

    1. a.
      [transitive] go by something to base an opinion on something
      go by appearances:

      It’s never very wise to go by appearances.

  3. 3
    [transitive] go by something to use a particular name for yourself that is not your real name

    When I knew her, she used to go by the name of Ricki.

  4. 4
    [intransitive/transitive] go by something to move past a place or stop there for a short time during a journey

    I went by the post office on the way home.

See also main entry: go


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play