by and by
See also: by-and-by
- After a short time.
- O, how this spring of love resembleth / The uncertain glory of an April day / Which now shows all the beauty of the sun, / And by and by a cloud takes all away!
- 1636, William Camden; John Philipot, Remaines concerning Britaine, their languages, names, surnames, 5th edition:
- Two anons and a by and by is an hour and a half.
- a. 1822, Percy Bysshe Shelley "On the Symposium, or Preface to the Banquet of Plato"
- "You are laughing at me, Socrates," said Agathon, "but you and I will decide this controversy about wisdom by and by, taking Bacchus for our judge. At present turn to your supper."
- After an indefinite period.
- Sit down, have a rest, and by and by you'll be feeling better.
- 1882, Alfred Tennyson, The Promise of May:
- She said herself / She would forgive him, by and by, not now — / For her own sake then, if not for mine — not now —- But by and by.
- 1907, Ada R. Habershon (lyrics), Charles H. Gabriel (music), “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”:
- Will the circle be unbroken / by and by, by and by? / Is a better home awaiting / in the sky, in the sky?
- (obsolete) Immediately; at once.
- The meaning of the term has changed from referring to a "near" time (by) to a vaguer range of times, possibly influenced by the use of the term as a noun to refer to the hereafter.
- (after a short time): shortly, soon; see also Thesaurus:soon
- (after an indefinite period): in due course, sooner or later; see also Thesaurus:eventually
- (immediately): now, stat; see also Thesaurus:immediately
soon — see soon
at an indefinite time in the future
- Heaven; the hereafter. Usually preceded with "the sweet."
- I'm sorry ma'am, but your cat's gone on to the sweet by and by.