1

Please read -

  1. At least he comes by his problems honestly.
  2. Great ideas dont come by brains but by guts.
  3. Success doesn't come by brains alone.

Could you please explain the meaning of 'come by' as I could not find the matching definition in any dicitionary.


And Also

  1. How did you come by that haircut?
  2. Where did you come by that haircut?

I don't clearly understand the above questions. What does it imply if I use 'where' or 'how' in the above questions ? Or are they all the same ?

2

To "come by" means "to come to have" or "to come to get" here:

At least he comes by his problems honestly.

How did you come by that haircut?

Where did you come by that haircut?

Here, it means "to arise from" (i.e. to come to be as a result of):

Great ideas don't come by brains but by guts.

Success doesn't come by brains alone.

Come conveys the idea of events-as-they-unfold. The statement and questions in the top set speak and ask about the circumstances that led up to the thing. For that reason, to my ear, Where...come by...? is slightly unidiomatic whereas *How...come by...? is idiomatic.

These are actually different verb phrases, and would be spoken with different parsing rhythms and intonation patterns.

Success does not come {pause} by brains alone.

How did you {come by} that haircut? { } = spoken as a unit without a syntactic pause between.

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