Definition of stand by in English:

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stand by

1Be present while something bad is happening but fail to take any action to stop it: he was beaten to the ground as onlookers stood by
More example sentences
  • And not the least of the horror is that the rest of the world stood by and let it happen.
  • And the police stood by and let it happen because it was peaceful.
  • It was surprising that Stewart stood by and watched this happen.
2Support or remain loyal to (someone), typically in a time of need: she had stood by him during his years in prison
More example sentences
  • You knew when doing it, though, that a lot of your friends, and supporters and people who stood by you would be outraged.
  • Most football supporters have stood by him in his adversity, and greeted him with warm applause on match days despite his falling from grace so publicly.
  • Paula has asked me to convey her heartfelt thanks to all those who stood by her and support her.
remain/be loyal to, stick with/by, remain/be true to, stand up for, support, back up, defend, stick up for
2.1Adhere to or abide by (something promised, stated, or decided): the government must stand by its pledges
More example sentences
  • He said his members want to go back to work as quickly as possible, but the Government had to stand by its promises first.
  • If it introduces a firm policy of that sort, it must stand by it.
  • Remember, if you make it a rule, you must stand by it.
abide by, keep (to), adhere to, hold to, stick to, observe, comply with
3Be ready to deal or assist with something: two battalions were on their way, and a third was standing by
More example sentences
  • The jets sit fueled and ready on the tarmac, and pilots stand by around the clock ready to scramble them into the air on a moment's notice.
  • They had a medical officer standing by to assist with the survivor.
  • British Royal Marines and US Marines are standing by to assist with evacuations of UK and US citizens if needed.
wait, be prepared, be in (a state of) readiness, be ready for action, be on full alert, wait in the wings
See parent entry: stand
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