Did you know?

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

on standby - 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.

  1. 1
    available to be used if needed in a particular situation

    The troops are on standby and can return at a moment’s notice.

    put/place someone/something on standby:

    Falconer has been put on standby for the European Championships.

  2. 2
    tourism ready to get on a plane if there is a seat left when it is about to take off
    put someone on standby:

    The flight is sold out, but we can put you on standby.

  3. 3
    used about a piece of electrical equipment, for example a television, that is switched on but not in use
See also main entry: standby


a rainbow produced when water droplets in the air reflect light from the moon rather than the sun

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

platform capitalism

a way of doing business that involves recruiting large numbers of people who work for themselves using the company's platform, as used by companies such as Uber, Deliveroo and the like

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