Definition of standby in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstan(d)ˌbī/

noun (plural standbys)

1Readiness for duty or immediate deployment: buses were placed on standby for the trip to Washington
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stand·by

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