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or by-pass

[bahy-pas, -pahs] /ˈbaɪˌpæs, -ˌpɑs/
a road enabling motorists to avoid a city or other heavy traffic points or to drive around an obstruction.
a secondary pipe or other channel connected with a main passage, as for conducting a liquid or gas around a fixture, pipe, or appliance.
Electricity. shunt (def 9).
a surgical procedure in which a diseased or obstructed hollow organ is temporarily or permanently circumvented.
verb (used with object), bypassed or (Rare) bypast; bypassed or bypast; bypassing.
to avoid (an obstruction, city, etc.) by following a bypass.
to cause (fluid or gas) to follow a secondary pipe or bypass.
to neglect to consult or to ignore the opinion or decision of:
He bypassed the foreman and took his grievance straight to the owner.
Origin of bypass
1840-50; apparently back formation from by-passage; see by1 (adj.), passage1
Related forms
bypasser, by-passer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bypass
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Between the three of them they managed to bypass the wires to the plastic plate and set the bed over it.

    All That Goes Up Kirby Brooks
  • They had to pull off to bypass a wagon and the carriage sank to the hubs.

    When the Owl Cries Paul Bartlett
  • Like that bypass person up at old Boom Bagshaw's, only much nicer and younger and friendlier than she is.

    If Winter Comes A.S.M. Hutchinson
  • It didn't matter whether he found the bypass circuit or not.

    The Scarlet Lake Mystery Harold Leland Goodwin
  • At will we pass it into our distant motors, allowing some to escape back in this direction through a bypass.

    The Great Airship. F. S. Brereton
British Dictionary definitions for bypass


a main road built to avoid a city or other congested area
any system of pipes or conduits for redirecting the flow of a liquid
a means of redirecting the flow of a substance around an appliance through which it would otherwise pass
  1. the redirection of blood flow, either to avoid a diseased blood vessel or in order to perform heart surgery See coronary bypass
  2. (as modifier): bypass surgery
  1. an electrical circuit, esp one containing a capacitor, connected in parallel around one or more components, providing an alternative path for certain frequencies
  2. (as modifier): a bypass capacitor
verb (transitive) -passes, -passing, -passed, -past
to go around or avoid (a city, obstruction, problem, etc)
to cause (traffic, fluid, etc) to go through a bypass
to proceed without reference to (regulations, a superior, etc); get round; avoid
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bypass

also by-pass, 1848, of certain pipes in a gasworks, from by + pass (n.). First used 1922 for "road for the relief of congestion;" figurative sense is from 1928. The heart operation was first so called 1957.


1823, "to pass by" (implied in bypassed), from bypass (n.). From 1928 as "to go around, avoid;" figurative use from 1941. Related: Bypassed; bypassing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bypass in Medicine

bypass by·pass (bī'pās')

  1. A passage created surgically to divert the flow of blood or other bodily fluid or to circumvent an obstructed or diseased organ.

  2. A surgical procedure to create such a channel.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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bypass in Science

A passage created surgically to divert the flow of blood or other bodily fluid or to circumvent an obstructed or diseased organ.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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