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sit (idly) by

To stand aside and refrain from acting or intervening. They may not have broken the law themselves, but the CEOs certainly sat by and allowed these illegal activities to happen unchecked. I feel so guilty for sitting idly by while my son was going through such a difficult time in his life.
See also: by, sit

sit by someone

to sit next to someone. May I sit by you? Come over here and sit by me.
See also: by, sit

sit idly by

 and stand idly by
to remain close, doing nothing to help. I do not intend to stand idly by while my children need my help. The wealthy man sat idly by while the poor people starved.
See also: by, idly, sit

sit by

Also, sit idly by. Refrain from interfering, remain passive, as in I can't just sit by and let her get in trouble.
See also: by, sit

sit by

To remain uninvolved; refrain from acting: I did the work while the others sat by and watched.
See also: by, sit
References in periodicals archive ?
Wonder idly what Graham Bradley's up to these days.
With the NHS running out of beds, commuters bled dry and VAT sent sky high, they are still partying like it's 1999 while Vince Cable and the Con-Dem Government stand idly by.
In my humble opinion, Mike German has it dead right: the Lib Dems will not stand idly by on the sidelines.
They will not stand idly by while the nation's civil rights laws are placed on the chopping block.
AS THE transfer window flaps idly in the winds of football's fickle financial fortunes, let me counsel chairmen who are about to countenance the signing of huge cheques for new imports.
two attendees were idly watching the world go by from their hotel window when the Presidential motorcade roared past.
But I just didn't want to sit idly by and let everyone think this is the real deal with girls today.
He said: "A French tribunal has ruled that the French government was not acting illegally in keeping the camp open, and allowing its police to stand idly by while more and more people try and break into the tunnel complex.
Inside, anonymous passengers stand idly, bathed in brilliant artificial light.
After learning there was a problem with the valuation of its direct placement investments, KPERS was not entitled to sit idly by waiting for [the auditing firm] to cite chapter and verse" the Eight Circuit held.
He had suffered a heart attack while we had been idly talking after Mass.
While mainstream American breweries still have the edge, they are not idly watching sales of specialty beers grow.
With both the massive disposition of the RTC portfolio and the ongoing auctions of HUD defaulted mortgages, it is possible that your mortgage is no longer in the hands of a lenient, passive party, one who will sit idly by while you remain in a non-performing status.