standby

[stand-bahy]
noun, plural standbys.
1.
a staunch supporter or adherent; one who can be relied upon.
2.
something upon which one can rely and therefore choose or use regularly.
3.
something or someone held ready to serve as a substitute, especially a radio or television program used as a filler in case of cancellation of a regularly scheduled program.
4.
a traveler who is waiting for last-minute accommodations to become available on a plane, train, or other transport as a result of a cancellation.
adjective
5.
kept readily available for use in an emergency, shortage, or the like: a standby player.
6.
of or pertaining to last-minute accommodations, the transport that offers them, or a traveler who is waiting for them: a standby flight.
7.
of or pertaining to a waiting period. Also, stand by.
Idioms
8.
on standby, in a state of readiness to act, respond, or be used immediately when needed.

Origin:
1790–1800; noun, adj. use of verb phrase stand by

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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WordNet
standby

adjective
1. ready for emergency use; "a standby generator"; "a standby crew" 

noun
1. something that can be relied on when needed 
2. an actor able to replace a regular performer when required [syn: understudy
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
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Example sentences
Attacks upon professorial tenure are a standby in the op-ed pages.
There was one problem-they had already given away our seats to people flying
  standby.
Or if you're not that creative you can always stick with the old standby:
  breaking the bones in their arms and legs.
Lumbering street sweeping vehicles were on standby to get things back to order
  once the ceremonies wrapped up.
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