The expression "by the by" is a colloquial way of introducing a side note or an incidental remark within a conversation. It's akin to saying, "On a related note" or "Incidentally." The phrase is a casual transition to a slightly tangential topic and can be heard in casual chats and more formal discussions.
"By the by" refers to mentioning something casually or incidentally while discussing another topic.
The phrase "by the by" is used when someone brings up a secondary or less critical point during a conversation. It's a way to touch upon another subject without diverting too far from the main topic.
This idiom, though not as popular as some others, has its place in the English lexicon and serves as a smooth transition between topics in a conversation.
The term "by" in Old English had the meaning of "side" or "lateral," suggesting something that's off the main path. "By the by" would then translate to "by the side" or "on the side," indicating a deviation from the primary subject of discussion.
"On foreign station they have no possibility of obtaining one shilling that is due to them; which evil, by the by, surely might be remedied by the proper authorities..."
- an excerpt from The European Magazine and London Review, by the Philological Society of Lodon (1816).
Understanding the usage of "by the by" becomes easier with practical examples.
While "by the by" might not be the most commonly cited phrase in pop culture, it has made appearances in certain classics.
Language is ever-evolving, and there are several ways to express the sentiment of "by the by."
It refers to bringing up something casually while discussing another topic.
Despite not being as common as some other idioms, many English speakers are still able to recognize and understand them.
Yes, they often can be, as they serve similar functions in conversation.
Many languages have their own idioms to introduce side topics, though they may not translate directly.
It's best suited for conversational contexts rather than formal writing.
It offers a smoother transition and indicates the secondary nature of the upcoming point.
Its origins trace back to Old English, making it centuries old.
While it's less common among younger speakers, many still recognize and understand its meaning due to its presence in literature and media.
Both versions exist, but "by the by" is more widely accepted.
Classics by authors like Charles Dickens often contain this idiom, offering context for its usage.
"By the by" is a colloquial expression to introduce a side comment or transition to a slightly tangential topic. Whether you're sharing a fun fact in the middle of a conversation, making a related point in a discussion, or simply wanting to switch gears, it can be your go-to transitional phrase.
Here's a quick wrap-up: