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

Definition of onlooker

: one that looks on especially : a passive spectator

Other Words from onlooker

onlooking \ ˈȯn-​ˌlu̇-​kiŋ How to pronounce onlooker (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.
Recent Examples on the Web Watching the towering 600-pound Yamamoto, who started teaching amateur sumo wrestlers in the United States 10 years ago, rise from a metal folding chair to demonstrate the throat-thrust technique on a student makes an onlooker’s muscles tense up. Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2022 The game turned dramatically on that play, less than a minute into the second quarter, which an experienced onlooker could have anticipated. Dom Amore, Hartford Courant, 27 Aug. 2022 Posing for photos on the red carpet with their daughter, the onlooker said the parents were open with their affection towards one another. Grace Gavilanes, Peoplemag, 11 Aug. 2022 Video footage of the attack, which took place at about 2 p.m. last Friday in the center of the eastern Italian beach town of Civitanova Marche, was captured by an onlooker, but no one was seen attempting to intervene. Safire R. Sostre, Essence, 2 Aug. 2022 According to an onlooker at the Houston Rockets vs. Grace Gavilanes, Peoplemag, 11 Aug. 2022 Mostly, there’s a bracing openness to new possibilities, as well as a refusal to even consider the assumptions — some racist, some ageist — a concerned onlooker might bring to the situation. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2022 By the time an onlooker writes down the result of a play, the Colts are already lined up for the next one. The Indianapolis Star, 28 July 2022 Amid the bustle of Tijuana, the average onlooker might miss the bulge in Claudia’s belly. Eli Cahan, Rolling Stone, 23 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of onlooker

1606, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of onlooker was in 1606

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Dictionary Entries Near onlooker

on loan



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Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Onlooker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for onlooker


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

Kids Definition of onlooker

More from Merriam-Webster on onlooker

Nglish: Translation of onlooker for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of onlooker for Arabic Speakers


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