Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > By-and-by

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
now means a little time hence, but when the Bible was translated it meant instantly. “When persecution ariseth … by-and-by he is offended” (Matt. xiii. 21); rendered in Mark iv. 17 by the word “immediately.” Our presently means in a little time hence, but in French présentement means now, directly. Thus in France we see, These apartments to be let presently, meaning now—a phrase which would in English signify by-and-by.   1



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