on·​look·​er ˈȯn-ˌlu̇-kər How to pronounce onlooker (audio)
: one that looks on
especially : a passive spectator
onlooking adjective

Examples of onlooker in a Sentence

Curious onlookers watched the ceremony. An onlooker noticed the disturbance. A crowd of onlookers gathered at the fire.
Recent Examples on the Web But one onlooker was said to have seen the actor near J Street. Hanh Truong, Sacramento Bee, 6 Feb. 2024 The highlight of the project might have been the community paint day on Nov. 14, when onlookers and other participants were allowed to paint the mural. Ken Makin, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Feb. 2024 Famous onlookers from Meryl Streep to Dua Lipa and Beyoncé were seen watching in the audience, swaying and enraptured, as the music veteran performed her song impeccably. Dan Heching, CNN, 4 Feb. 2024 Lenovo View software provides video enhancement (on AC power only), auto framing, background blur, and the option to superimpose you on your shared screen or PowerPoint, as well as over-the-shoulder onlooker and poor-posture warnings. Eric Grevstad, PCMAG, 1 Feb. 2024 The display of temper caused courtroom onlookers to stare in disbelief at the former president’s breach of decorum. Kate Christobek, New York Times, 27 Jan. 2024 The Boeing 747 plane was headed toward Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico, per the FAA, and sparks were seen apparently coming from the plane in footage captured by onlooker Melanie Adaros that was shared with CNN. Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 21 Jan. 2024 Social media onlookers have complained that the discussion has gotten out of hand. Samantha Chery, Washington Post, 29 Dec. 2023 Looking to confront an elusive Mercy, Margaret mistakenly accosts an innocent server in front of a judgmental audience of onlookers before fleeing the party with her friend and neighbor Hilary (Blue). Hunter Ingram, Variety, 27 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'onlooker.' 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

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of onlooker was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near onlooker

Cite this Entry

“Onlooker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


on·​look·​er ˈȯn-ˌlu̇k-ər How to pronounce onlooker (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on onlooker

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