Definition of standby in English:


Syllabification: stand·by
Pronunciation: /ˈstan(d)ˌbī

noun (plural standbys)

  • 1Readiness for duty or immediate deployment: buses were placed on standby for the trip to Washington
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    • Voters will go to the polls today with 95,000 police on the streets and 100,000 troops on standby for immediate deployment.
    • By spotting the danger signs early enough, a civil defence team can be put on standby to provide an immediate response to another flood.
    • As part of the government's rapid reaction force, 45 Commando are on permanent standby for deployment to anywhere in the world at very short notice.
  • 1.1The state of waiting to secure an unreserved place for a journey or performance, allocated on the basis of earliest availability: passengers were obliged to go on standby
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    • The seats are typically offered on standby basis and but have become increasingly hard for employees to nail down as many flights fly at record-full levels.
    • But cheap fares are filling the empty seats staffers used to use on standby.
    • The 74 passengers were put on standby for the next available flight.
  • 1.2A person waiting to secure a place on standby.
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    • When they called the flight, to my relief I was one of the standbys who made it aboard.
    • So I camped out and waited for the standbys to get called.
    • I got on the flight even though there were a bunch of standbys milling around the ticket counter.
  • 1.3A person or thing ready to be deployed immediately, especially if needed as backup in an emergency: a generator was kept as a standby in case of power failure [as modifier]: a standby rescue vessel
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    • Stored rainwater also is a good standby in times of emergencies such as power outages or during periods of extreme drought when wells dry up.
    • The tugboat is truly multi purpose, as it can lead oil tankers into port, repair petroleum pipes in the sea and act as a standby rescue boat.
    • They have a standby generator and five solar panels.
  • 1.4An operational mode of an electrical appliance in which the power is switched on but the appliance is not actually functioning.
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    • The standby function on electrical appliances is responsible for an estimated six per cent of the UK's domestic electricity consumption.
    • One nuclear power station is needed to feed the millions of electrical appliances left in standby mode around the UK every day.
    • A new chip promises to significantly reduce the power consumption of numerous consumer products and portable computing devices operating in standby mode.

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