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stand (idly) by
To refrain from acting or intervening while something bad happens or unfolds. They may not have broken the law themselves, but the CEOs certainly stood by and allowed these illegal activities to happen unchecked. I feel so guilty for standing idly by while my son was going through such a difficult time in his life.
1. To remain prepared or ready to act in some way. We've got a fleet of highly skilled engineers standing by should you run into any difficulties. Stand by, dinner should almost be finished cooking.
2. To refrain from acting, intervening, or helping. They may not have broken the law themselves, but the CEOs certainly stood by and allowed these illegal activities to happen unchecked. I feel so guilty for standing by while my son was going through such a difficult time in his life.
3. To remain loyal to, committed to, or supportive of someone or something. I vowed to stand by my wife, no matter what happened to us. Do you still stand by your decision to fire him?
4. To pause or wait. Stand by, everyone, we'll be back up and running in just a moment. Stand by while I bring up the file.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
stand by someone or something
to stand next to someone or something. Jeff, please stand by Judy. I want to take your picture. Can I stand by the window and watch the birds?
stand by someone
to support someone; to continue supporting someone even when things are bad. Don't worry. I'll stand by you no matter what. I feel as though I have to stand by my brother even if he goes to jail.
to wait and remain ready. (Generally heard in communication, such as broadcasting, telephones, etc.) Your transatlantic telephone call is almost ready. Please stand by. Is everyone ready for the telecast? Only ten seconds—stand by.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Be ready or available to act, as in I'm almost ready for you to carve the turkey, so please stand by. [Mid-1200s]
2. Wait for something to resume, as in We are all standing by until the power is restored. Also see on standby.
3. Be present but remain uninvolved, refrain from acting, as in I can't stand by and see these kids shoplifting. [Late 1300s]
4. Remain loyal, as in She's my friend and I'll stand by her, no matter what. [Early 1500s] Also see stick by.
5. Adhere to, abide by, as in I'm going to stand by what I said yesterday. [Late 1300s]
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 be ready or available to act: Operators are standing by, ready to take your call.
2. To wait for a thing, such as a broadcast, to resume: Our network is experiencing some technical difficulties; please stand by. This train will be standing by until further notice.
3. To remain uninvolved; refrain from acting: The security guard just stood by and let the thief get away.
4. To remain loyal to someone; aid or support someone: She stood by her friend and defended her throughout the scandal.
5. To keep or maintain some principle or position on an issue: I stand by my decision, and I'm willing to defend it.
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.