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

Local ’80s cover band The Spazmatics displayed their nerdy antics to a crowd of onlookers on Friday night. Stefanie Valentic,, "Sunny days attract thousands to 27th annual Fairview Park Summerfest," 29 July 2019 Professional cyclists navigated a closed course Thursday in Niles, with teenagers and college students among those competing in an elite field as hundreds of onlookers cheered. Steve Sadin,, "Niles Cycling Classic features enthusiastic atmosphere and youthful contenders," 26 July 2019 As an enormous crowd of onlookers (media and guests) stood before the giant, iconic gates into the park/ride, the actor who plays Owen Grady in the franchise, had to tame Blue, his character's Velociraptor. Ryan Parker, The Hollywood Reporter, "Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard Help Open Jurassic World: The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood," 23 July 2019 Maybe he was headed for the Hazelton Hotel, where hundreds of onlookers waited. Dan Woike,, "Kawhi Leonard is now on the clock with free-agency meetings likely behind him," 4 July 2019 The 170-pound loggerhead turtle lies at the bottom of his tub and waits for the perfect moment to pop his head out of the water, wave his fins and splash the dozens of onlookers. Catie Wegman,, "SummerTimeOut: Turtle tours at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach," 26 June 2019 Handcuffed and bleeding from the head, Stormé escaped to the cheers of onlookers before officers finally wrestled her back into the squad car. Michelle Tea, Harper's magazine, "Stonewall at Fifty," 22 June 2019 Beatrice and Alice Meredith, ages 3 and 2, pressed their noses against the fence separating Tuffy’s exhibit from the crowd of onlookers. Talia Richman,, "'Look how close he is!' Maryland Zoo celebrates opening of revamped African Journey exhibits," 22 June 2019 Here are two boys spinning each other on the sidewalk, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers. Anakwa Dwamena, The New Yorker, "Liz Johnson Artur’s Vibrant Chronicle of the African Diaspora," 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

28 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for onlooker

The first known use of onlooker was in 1606

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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

What made you want to look up onlooker? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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