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 The man, later identified as Banks, instead shot a bystander in the arm during the incident, police said. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Kent police searching for man who shot bystander in arm," 12 Sep. 2020 The vehicle was parked at a residence that a bystander said was recently renovated to serve as a short-term rental. Katelyn Umholtz | Staff Writer,, "Man fatally shot in New Orleans' Central City at South Saratoga and Thalia streets, police say," 9 Sep. 2020 In 2015, Carey Gabay, an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was killed as a bystander in the middle of a gang shootout. Mark Morales, CNN, "6-year-old boy among 5 people shot during Brooklyn J'Ourvet celebration," 7 Sep. 2020 During the arrest, a bystander flagged down the deputy and reported that the man had been following a juvenile, who ran to a nearby grocery store to ask for help. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Deputy spots attempted kidnapping suspect from L.A. wanted flier, arrests him," 3 Sep. 2020 But Pellerin kept walking away with a knife, a bystander told the newspaper. Washington Post, "One Louisiana city refuses to take hurricane evacuees. Officials blame racial justice protesters.," 31 Aug. 2020 Once again, the nation has seen ghastly bystander footage of state violence. Allissa V. Richardson, The Atlantic, "The Killing Is Not the Content," 30 Aug. 2020 Video of the incident shot by a bystander set off violent nightly protests -- including Tuesday night's unrest, in which a 17-year-old from Illinois allegedly fatally shot two people and wounded a third. Fox News, "Kenosha police union gives its account of Jacob Blake shooting," 29 Aug. 2020 In September 2019, a 41-year-old bystander shot by a Milwaukee police officer who was chasing another man who'd allegedly fled from a traffic stop said he was shackled to a hospital bed for hours before being released from custody. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'That's a little overkill': Deputies remove handcuffs from Jacob Blake, who was paralyzed in Kenosha police shooting," 29 Aug. 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

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The first known use of bystander was in 1584

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Statistics for bystander

Last Updated

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bystander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 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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