by·​stand·​er | \ ˈbī-ˌstan-dər How to pronounce bystander (audio) \

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 Police released just part of the video from one of the body cameras; no bystander videos emerged. Anita Hassan, NBC News, "When Byron Williams died saying 'I can't breathe,' few protested. Now his family is fighting for justice.," 18 June 2020 Floyd’s death, in the light of day, as three other officers looked on or helped restrain him, was captured on video by a teen-age bystander. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "How the Charges Against Derek Chauvin Fit Into a Vision of Criminal-Justice Reform," 17 June 2020 Demonstrations turned violent, with several shootings occurring-- one after a protester rammed his vehicle into a crowd and shot a bystander. Fox News, "Seattle councilwoman says police precinct should remain in community control permanently," 13 June 2020 Derek Chauvin, who is seen in a bystander's video pressing his knee into Floyd's neck as the man begged for his life, was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "George Floyd's loved ones say they hope his funeral is only the beginning of widespread change," 10 June 2020 The crash, which was reported at about 8:30 p.m., was captured on video by a bystander. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Minivan strikes protesters on Monument Circle," 9 June 2020 Austin police critically injured a 20-year-old college student and bystander at a May 31 protest when a beanbag round hit him in the head. Anchorage Daily News, "A guide to the less-lethal weapons that law enforcement uses against protesters," 7 June 2020 Police have said the vast majority of protesters are nonviolent, but violence has continued most nights and someone – protester, bystander or police -- could be seriously injured. oregonlive, "Who’s taking part in Portland’s George Floyd protests? What do they want? When will it end?: Q&A," 7 June 2020 Nearly 30 years before a bystander with a cellphone caught a Minneapolis Police Department officer restraining George Floyd with his knee on Floyd's neck, police in Los Angeles were covertly taped beating a criminal suspect. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Biden proposed 'Police Officer's Bill of Rights' two months after Rodney King beating," 3 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for bystander

Time Traveler

The first known use of bystander was in 1584

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Statistics for bystander

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bystander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for bystander


How to pronounce bystander (audio)

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 How to pronounce bystander (audio) \

Kids Definition of bystander

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

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