get by with (something)

get by with (something)

1. To survive, cope, or make do with some limited, inadequate, or insufficient means or resource. I had to get by with just $20 a week when I was in college. We're going to have to get by with a much smaller staff now that our budget has been cut.
2. To avoid failure or satisfy the minimum requirements with some outcome or achievement. I may have only gotten by with a D average, but I still finished college with my bachelor's degree! He had been getting by with the bare minimum in his reports up until now, but the new boss has really started to crack down on such shoddy work.
3. To avoid the consequences of one's action. You'll never by with cheating—one of your teachers is bound to figure it out. You got lucky when you ran that red light. Next time you might not get by with it.
See also: by, get