by·​stand·​er | \ˈbī-ˌstan-dər \

Definition of bystander 

: one who is present but not taking part in a situation or event : a chance spectator innocent bystanders who were injured in the shooting

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Examples of bystander in a Sentence

Two innocent bystanders were injured in the shooting. bystanders rushed to help the victim of the mugging

Recent Examples on the Web

In the video, which was recorded by a bystander and posted to Facebook and Instagram on Saturday, a police officer backs 26-year-old Dashawn McGrier against a wall. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "The latest viral video of Baltimore police shows that the department’s reform efforts have a long way to go.," 13 Aug. 2018 The 20-foot long, diaper-wearing, smartphone-clutching balloon flew for several hours above hundreds of bystanders, before it was deflated and packed away. Jane Onyanga-omara, USA TODAY, "'Trump Baby' flies as protesters in UK galvanize against US president," 13 July 2018 Rescuers from the Mesa Fire and Medical Department, along with Mesa police, emergency dispatchers and bystanders, met with reporters Wednesday morning to discuss the collaboration behind saving the woman's life. Kimberly Rapanut, azcentral, "'The system worked': What led to rescue of woman from Mesa canal," 11 July 2018 Another bystander, Shauny Mary, posted a short video of the incident on Facebook, confirming Jones’ witness account. Paula Rogo,, "Pittsburgh Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed Black Teen, Antwon Rose, Three Times In The Back," 21 June 2018 The episode — seen by many as a testament to community action, but by one of the jogger’s friends as a glimpse into online extremes — began Friday when 30-year-old Henry William Sintay was confronted by bystanders at the lake. Erin Stone,, "Charges filed against Oakland’s ‘Jogger Joe’ as case shows immense power of shared videos," 13 June 2018 When a high-speed Independence police chase on June 1 led west along 23rd Street into Kansas City and ended in a wreck that killed and injured innocent bystanders, the crash might have seemed familiar. Ian Cummings, kansascity, "Years before deadly police chase, Independence paid $767K for nearly identical wreck," 12 June 2018 Dozier did not call Shannon a bystander, saying he was involved in the fight and was walking toward the car at the time of the shooting. Jane Wester And Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "He fatally shot an unarmed teen at an NC gas station. Here's why he won't be charged.," 6 June 2018 Warrants released Wednesday only accuse him of shooting the teen, but the store’s owner, 46, and a bystander, 47, were also shot. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, "Ex-deputy charged with shooting teen at DeKalb liquor store," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bystander.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bystander

1584, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for bystander

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for bystander

The first known use of bystander was in 1584

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More Definitions for bystander



English Language Learners Definition of bystander

: a person who is standing near but not taking part in what is happening


by·​stand·​er | \ˈbī-ˌstan-dər \

Kids Definition of bystander

: a person present or standing near but taking no part in what is going on

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Comments on bystander

What made you want to look up bystander? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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