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1. To move past something, especially an obstacle or impediment of some kind. Can you move those boxes? I need to get by with this cart. We just got by the traffic jam when another accident happened.
2. To live with the minimum amount of necessities required to survive; to barely make ends meet. Ever since my husband lost his job, we've been just getting by.
3. To perform just well enough not to fail. You'll be able to get by with these grades, but they certainly won't get you into your first choice school.
4. To pass unnoticed. Quick, let's get by the guard before he wakes up! Wow, I can't believe you noticed that. Nothing gets by you, huh?
5. To cause or help someone or something to go past someone or something else without being noticed. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "get" and "by." You distract the bouncer so I can get my brother by him. Do you really think you'll be able to get a dog by the security cameras?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
get someone or something by someone or somethingand get someone or something by
to get someone or something past an inspection. Do you think I can get my cousin by the border guards? I don't think I can get this sausage by the customs desk.
get by (without someone or something)
to survive without someone or something. I can't get by without you. We can probably get by without two cars.
get by(with something)
1. to satisfy the minimum requirements. I was failing geometry, but managed to get by with a D. I took the bar exam and just barely got by.
2. Go to get away with something.
(on a small amount of money) to survive with only a small amount of money. I can't get by on that much money. That is a very small amount of money to live on. No one could get by.
(someone or something) to move past someone or something. I need to get by this intersection, and then I will stop and look at the tires. Please let me get by.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Move past, as in There isn't room for this car to get by.
2. Manage to succeed or get along; also, barely succeed. For example, He's getting by even though he only works half-time, or If he applied himself, Paul could be getting A's, but instead he's just getting by. [Early 1900s]
3. Be unnoticed; also, get approval or pass inspection. For example, I wonder if these errors will get by the proofreader, or He hoped the paint job would get by. [Early 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To find a way past or around something: The store was so crowded that it was hard to get by the entranceway.
2. To go unnoticed or ignored by someone: The mistake got by the editor, but the proofreader caught it.
3. To cause something to pass unnoticed or ignored by someone: The smuggler failed to get the drugs by the inspector.
4. To succeed at a level of minimal acceptability or with the minimal amount of effort: When I was in college I just barely got by. There's no way to get by with just half a bottle of cream for the dessert tonight.
5. To succeed in managing; survive: We can get by if we save our money carefully.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.