Did you know?

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

stand by

 - definition

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.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theystand by
he/she/itstands by
present participlestanding by
past tensestood by
past participlestood by

Related dictionary definitions

  1. 1
    [intransitive] [often progressive] to be ready to do something

    A boat will be standing by in case of emergency.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to not take action when you should

    We can't just stand by and watch her die.

  3. 3
    [transitive] stand by someone to be loyal to someone who is in a difficult situation

    We knew they would stand by us no matter what we'd done.

  4. 4
    [transitive] stand by something to continue to have a particular belief or opinion, even though other people have doubts about it or disagree with you

    The doctors are standing by their claim that they are not at fault.

See also main entry: stand

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

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