live by

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live by

1. To reside some place close to a person or thing. I'm really looking forward to the move—it will be so nice to live by my parents. After growing up in a crowded city, it's almost surreal living by such wide open space.
2. To exist or survive due to some particular status or action. This company lives and dies by the work ethic of its employees, so we can't afford to have someone on board who isn't willing to do their share of the work. I didn't have any connections or experience when I moved to New York City, so I had to live by my wits.
3. To live in accordance with some creed, principle, ideal, etc. This company lives and dies by the work ethic of its employees, so we can't afford to have someone on board who isn't willing to do their share of the work. I didn't have any connections or experience when I moved to New York City, so I had to live by my wits.
See also: by, live
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

live by something

 
1. to live near something. We live by a lovely park that is filled with children in the summer. I would love to live by the sea.
2. to survive by doing or using something in particular. (See also live by one's wits.) She lives by her own skill and hard work. We live by the skills that we have—and hard work, of course.
See also: by, live
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.
"Then you will not mind living by yourself quite alone?"
Another public company, Alternative Living Concepts, has been able to provide affordable assisted living by minimizing frills and extensively participating in the Medicaid waiver and other federal and state entitlement programs.
Due in large part to the lack of services to support community living by people with severe disabilities, these early programs were of necessity residential programs in which consumers of services lived in congregate settings with shared support services.