A-Z Database

A-Z Database

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
By a long shot

see Not by a long shot


By a street/win by a street

see Streets ahead


By a whisker

see By/to/within a hair’s breadth/whisker


By all/any manner of means

Certainly or for sure, dates from the 15th century where means signifies methods. Thus, if something can be done by any manner or sort of method, it s...

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By and by

In the 1400s, by and by meant a succession of things or events, one by one or one after another but by the 16th century it came to mean before long or...

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By and large

This odd expression, which means ‘largely’, ‘mostly’, or ‘in general’ has become something of a meaningless cliché these days, but this was not always...

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By dint of

Dint is an Old English word for a blow or a strike from before the 12th century now only found in the phrase by dint of, which means by force of. This...

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By fair means or foul

see Fair means or foul


By fits and starts

see Fits and starts


By Gad

A minced oath for by God dates from the early 1600s.


By Gum

British colloquial expression that is in fact a euphemism or minced oath for by God dates from the early 19th century; sometimes appears in the form o...

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By heart

Recite or know something from memory dates from the 1300s, deriving from the very old notion that the heart was the seat of not only emotions but also...

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By hook or by crook

A very old expression dates from the 14th century. Misguidedly, it has come to mean by fair means or foul because the word crook is mistakenly associa...

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By Jove/Jupiter

By Jove and by Jupiter are mild oaths that have been in use since the 16th century. Jove is an alternative form of Jupiter, the principal Roman God wh...

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By no/not by any stretch of the imagination

Both these versions of the same expression emphasize that something is definitely not the case or that something is impossible to believe, even after...

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