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Thread: By the by

  1. #1

    By the by


    Could someone please shed light on the phrase "by the by"? It would be greatly appreciated if you could define it and give an example of appropriate usage.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,403

    Re: By the by

    by the by: incidentally; parenthetically

    So - I'll see you at the restaurant on Saturday. Oh, by the by, is it BYOG.?

    BYOG : bring your own grog (=alcohol)

    Most restaurants these days have a liquor licence. In 'the old days', if a restaurant didn't, people would bring their own bottle of wine and the restaurant would charge a nominal fee for 'corkage' - opening and serving the wine in glasses they provided. Unless one had been to the restaurant, one had to check - otherwise, no grog.

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,398

    Re: By the by

    Brewer's comments on this phrase:

    En passant, laterally connected with the main subject. “By-play” is side or secondary play; “By-lanes and streets” are those which branch out of the main thoroughfare. The first “by” means passing from one to another, as in the phrase “Day by day.” Thus “By-the-by” is passing from the main subject to a by or secondary one.

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