on·​look·​er | \ ˈȯn-ˌlu̇-kər How to pronounce onlooker (audio) , ˈän-\

Definition of onlooker

: one that looks on especially : a passive spectator

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Other Words from onlooker

onlooking \ ˈȯn-​ˌlu̇-​kiŋ How to pronounce onlooking (audio) , ˈän-​ \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Several bystanders recorded cellphone videos that showed Ring on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back and two police officers standing near him keeping onlookers away. Wayne K. Roustan,, "IDs released of two involved in bus terminal police shooting," 25 June 2019 Bitcoin’s ride back accelerated in April, puzzling onlookers trying to pinpoint a reason for the surge. Vildana Hajric, Fortune, "$11,000 and Climbing: Bitcoin Is Experiencing a 'Fairly Extraordinary' Bounce-Back," 24 June 2019 The Windsor Fire Department as asked onlookers to stay away from the area and for residents to close their windows and shelter in place. Amy Huschka, Detroit Free Press, "Firefighters battling massive fire at tire shop in Windsor," 23 June 2019 Several motorcycles and a pickup truck collided on a rural, two-lane highway Friday, killing seven people and injuring three others, and sending onlookers rushing to treat and help the motorists peppered along the road. Time, "7 Dead in Collision With Several Motorcycles and a Pickup Truck," 22 June 2019 Five years — to the day — after a 780-pound steer’s memorable escape attempt captivated onlookers in West Baltimore, two more made a mad dash for freedom Thursday that ended when they were corralled in the lawn of a nearby apartment complex. Colin Campbell,, "Pair of steers corralled after breaking free in West Baltimore," 13 June 2019 Experienced parade-goers know that turns are the best places to watch parades, because the procession tends to slow down, giving onlookers better perspectives. Doug Maccash,, "New Orleans’ Pride Parade 2019 was a glorious group hug," 9 June 2019 On that day in July 2013, Kate greeted onlookers in a blue polka-dot dress by Jenny Packham and a pair of Dune sling-back espadrilles. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "How Meghan Markle's Maternity Dress Today Reminded Fans of Kate Middleton," 8 May 2019 Colorful bracelets and earrings were also on display, and workers explained the artwork to curious onlookers. Serena O'sullivan, azcentral, "Phoenix community comes together to celebrate Juneteenth and build friendships," 16 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'onlooker.' 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 onlooker

1606, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near onlooker



on loan



only child

only fair

Statistics for onlooker

Last Updated

3 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for onlooker

The first known use of onlooker was in 1606

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More Definitions for onlooker



English Language Learners Definition of onlooker

: a person who watches an activity or event without being involved in it


on·​look·​er | \ ˈȯn-ˌlu̇-kər How to pronounce onlooker (audio) , ˈän-\

Kids Definition of onlooker

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More from Merriam-Webster on onlooker

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with onlooker

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for onlooker

Spanish Central: Translation of onlooker

Nglish: Translation of onlooker for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of onlooker for Arabic Speakers

Comments on onlooker

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a small bunch of flowers

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