Word said when leaving a place or person. Abbreviation of good-bye, which is a contraction of "God be with you."

Also a sports term for when a team or teams do not have to play a game while other teams do.

Byes usually take place in two possible ways: postseason tournaments, and natural byes due to the schedule.

In the former case, if a tournament has a number of teams other than a power of two, then every team can't play at once (ie. if there's 8 teams then there would be four matches, but if there's 9 there'd be one team left out). Different conferences and leagues have various ways to work this out.

For example, in NFL football, each conference has 6 playoff teams. The bottom four play in the wild card round, with the two winners advancing to the conference semifinals to face the top two teams which had byes (so did not play during the wild card round). In other words, teams ranked 3-6 play each other, with the two winners facing teams ranked 1 and 2.

Various combinations allow for a tournament with most any number of teams. For example, with 5 teams, the bottom two teams play in the first round, while the top 3 teams receive a bye to the semifinals. 11 teams would involve teams ranked 6-11 playing, with the 3 winners joining the top 5 teams (who were on bye) in the quarterfinals.

Obviously, such byes aren't only for sports. They can also be used in chess tournaments or video game tournaments, or any head-to-head competition.

The second sort of bye is a "natural" bye. For example, in the NFL, all teams play 16 regular season games. However, they play over 17 weeks. So each team has a bye week in their schedule, during which they have no game. Generally, this sort of bye is only for "bye weeks". When baseball teams have the day off, or a hockey or basketball team doesn't play for several days, they are never really said to be on bye.

Bye is also an extremely old command for some computer systems to quit, exit or logout. Its use has waned in last decade, what with the rise of GUI operating systems, but when confronted with a text-based interface it can be worth a go to see if it's recognized.

It seems to be an acknowledgement of heritage more than anything these days by programmers.

In cricket, a run scored when the batsman has neither touched the ball with the bat, nor had the ball touch his body or clothing (which would make it a leg-bye), from a legitimate delivery by the bowler (i.e. not a wide or a no ball). As such it is deemed to be the fault of the wicket-keeper and the run is neither credited to the batsman or considered on the bowler's analysis, but just added to the batting team's total as an extra. The delivery counts as normal since the batsman could have hit the ball; no additional balls are bowled.

The umpire signals a bye to the scorers by holding his left hand straight up with the palm open.

Bye (bI), n.


A thing not directly aimed at; something which is a secondary object of regard; an object by the way, etc.; as in on or upon the bye, i. e., in passing; indirectly; by implication. [Obs. except in the phrase by the bye.]

The Synod of Dort condemneth upon the bye even the discipline of the Church of England.

2. (Cricket)

A run made upon a missed ball; as, to steal a bye. T. Hughes.

By the bye, in passing; by way of digression; apropos to the matter in hand. [Written also by the by.]


© Webster 1913

Bye (bI) n. [AS. b&ymacr;; cf. Icel. bygð dwelling, byggja, bUa, to dwell √97.]


A dwelling. Gibson.


In certain games, a station or place of an individual player. Emerson.


© Webster 1913

Bye, n.


In various sports in which the contestants are drawn in pairs, the position or turn of one left with no opponent in consequence of an odd number being engaged; as, to draw a bye in a round of a tennis tournament.

2. (Golf)

The hole or holes of a stipulated course remaining unplayed at the end of a match.


© Webster 1913

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