by·​stand·​er ˈbī-ˌstan-dər How to pronounce bystander (audio)
: one who is present but not taking part in a situation or event : a chance spectator
innocent bystanders who were injured in the shooting

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 Chief calls for review Pierre’s arrest, captured on video by a bystander, drew widespread criticism. Ryan Oehrli, Charlotte Observer, 29 Mar. 2024 First, bystanders must recognize that a person lacks a pulse, call 911 and start chest compressions. Helen Ouyang, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 Numerous emergency and rescue crews, as well a civilian bystanders went to search the different trails via UTV. Emily Deletter, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2024 One bystander was injured and both suspects were injured, police said. Jolie Lash, ABC News, 18 Mar. 2024 Twenty-six of those people, eight who were visibly injured and 16 who complained of pain, were bystanders. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Mar. 2024 Related video Who pays when police destroy innocent bystanders’ property? Holly Yan, CNN, 8 Mar. 2024 The bystander tries to intervene again, and Duffy is seen on video striking the person. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 5 Mar. 2024 An unlucky 19-year-old bystander was at a car wash a quarter-mile from the scene when a piece of debris hit him in the head, officials said. Mitchell Willetts, Kansas City Star, 5 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bystander.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1584, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bystander was in 1584

Dictionary Entries Near bystander

Cite this Entry

“Bystander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


by·​stand·​er -ˌstan-dər How to pronounce bystander (audio)
: a person standing near but taking no part in what is happening

More from Merriam-Webster on bystander

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!