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by (oneself)

1. Alone. Because there's usually so much going on with the kids, I really enjoy spending a quiet Saturday night by myself.
2. Through one's own efforts alone. You can't move that table all by yourself! Here, let me help you. My little girl loves to get dressed by herself, so tutus and cowboy boots have become the norm around here.
See also: by

by fits and starts

In short, inconsistent, and irregular intervals, as of motion or progress. The car was almost completely broken down, but, by fits and starts, we were able to get it to a mechanic. A: "How's the essay coming along?" B: "Oh, by fits and starts."
See also: and, by, fit, start

by virtue of (something)

Due to something; because of something; by reason of something. By virtue of your years of hard work and experience, we think you would be well-suited to a managerial role. I know that you feel the need to intervene by virtue of your role as a father, but you need to allow your children a greater degree of independence.
See also: by, of, virtue
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


/in fits and starts
With irregular intervals of action and inaction; intermittently.


/in virtue of
On the grounds or basis of; by reason of: well-off by virtue of a large inheritance.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.