Definition of sit by in US English:

sit by

phrasal verb

  • Take no action in order to prevent something undesirable from occurring.

    ‘I'm not going to sit by and let an innocent man go to jail’
    • ‘Most of the saner ones from amongst my readers would have realized that I did not sit by all day trying to count all these.’
    • ‘I was sitting by with the kids as this scene came up, prepared to talk it over with them as necessary.’
    • ‘Sandler approaches nervously, Nicholson cheers him on, and Graham sits by oblivious.’
    • ‘What does it say when the Government sits by impotently when a star witness is gunned down in broad daylight on the Bulgarian Supreme Court steps?’
    • ‘If he sits by and lets martial law happen without objecting strongly, his political career will be over.’