pe·​des·​tri·​an | \ pə-ˈde-strē-ən \

Definition of pedestrian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : commonplace, unimaginative his sentences and phrases are too often pedestrian, commonplace, and flatThe Times Literary Supplement (London)
2a : going or performed on foot pedestrian traffic a pedestrian tour of the village
b : of, relating to, or designed for walking a pedestrian mall a pedestrian bridge



Definition of pedestrian (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person going on foot : walker

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How Should You Use pedestrian?

Most of us know pedestrian as a noun meaning someone who travels on foot. But the adjective sense of pedestrian as defined here is actually its original meaning. To be pedestrian was to be drab or dull, as if plodding along on foot rather than speeding on horseback or by coach. Pedestrian is often used to describe a colorless or lifeless writing style, but it can also describe politicians, public tastes, personal qualities, or possessions. In comparison with the elaborate stage shows put on by today's rock artists, for instance, most of the stage presentations of 1960s rock stars seem pedestrian.

Examples of pedestrian in a Sentence


He lived a pedestrian life, working at the paper mill and living in his trailer. pedestrian concerns like paying the bills and getting the kids to school on time


The car slid off the road and almost hit a group of pedestrians.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The proposal also features a church, splash pad, a community garden and a pedestrian walkway connecting it with the adjacent Sunrise Mountain trailheads. Laura Gómez, azcentral, "Arizona's first 'upscale' Safeway, restaurants and boutiques planned for north Peoria," 9 May 2018 That adds up to about four additional pedestrian deaths on October 31st every year. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Halloween is a scary night to be a pedestrian," 30 Oct. 2018 The group also said a pedestrian death in Arizona involving an Uber autonomous vehicle shows the dangers of testing self-driving vehicles on public roads. Tom Krisher, Fox News, "Semi-autonomous car safety systems flawed, study finds," 7 Aug. 2018 Automatic braking Vehicle safety features, however, are believed to be just as crucial to reducing pedestrian deaths. Detroit Free Press, "Death on foot," 28 June 2018 Five states - Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas - account for 43 percent of all pedestrian deaths. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "Traffic engineers struggle to curb pedestrian deaths," 19 June 2018 As a result, SpaceX built a pedestrian bridge last year that travels over Crenshaw from the company’s parking garage to its headquarters. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "We don’t need more dedicated places where cars can go fast," 20 Dec. 2018 The chic village offers a surprisingly large ski area, fine food and plenty of luxury boutiques in the charming, pedestrian village. Kelly Dinardo, WSJ, "Geneva Beyond the Cliché," 12 Dec. 2018 Arizona has the highest pedestrian death rate in the nation. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Riding in Waymo One, the Google spinoff’s first self-driving taxi service," 5 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In Monday’s incident, a van sped into the intersection of Yonge and Finch at around 1:30 p.m. before heading south on Yonge, hopping the curb and slamming into pedestrians. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Ten People Have Died in Canada's Worst Mass Killing in Almost 30 Years," 23 Apr. 2018 In Monday’s incident, a van sped into the intersection of Yonge and Finch at around 1:30 p.m. before heading south on Yonge, hopping the curb and slamming into pedestrians. Natalie Obiko Pearson,, "Ten Dead in Worst Canadian Mass Killing in Almost 30 Years," 23 Apr. 2018 Between 2014 and 2017, fatal collisions killed 271 pedestrians in Phoenix. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Riding in Waymo One, the Google spinoff’s first self-driving taxi service," 5 Dec. 2018 Nicholas Kauffroath, 28, was recently given a misdemeanor conviction for knocking a pedestrian to the ground while riding a scooter in West Los Angeles, authorities said. Frank Miles, Fox News, "LA's newest category of crime: 1st conviction for 'scooting' under the influence," 28 Sep. 2018 Sometimes the screen will also help inform customers about what the car is doing—for example, if the car stops to let a pedestrian cross, the screen will make that clear. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Waymo One, the groundbreaking self-driving taxi service, explained," 5 Dec. 2018 While the technology around these digital streets is still under discussion, new plans suggest the flexible nature of the streetscape will be a boon to pedestrians. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Sidewalk Labs’s updated smart city plan aims for ‘people-first public realm’," 30 Nov. 2018 The San Ysidro port opened to pedestrians around 3:45 pm, and was open to all traffic by 6. Dara Lind, Vox, "How a march at the US-Mexico border descended into tear gas and chaos," 26 Nov. 2018 Yet instead of becoming an accountant, or really anything slightly more pedestrian than acting, Gavin is [checks notes] becoming a Food Network host, apparently. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "Gavin Leatherwood Bastes a Turkey in Netflix's Thanksgiving Spot," 21 Nov. 2018

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


1716, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1770, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pedestrian

Adjective and Noun

Latin pedestr-, pedester, literally, going on foot, from ped-, pes foot — more at foot

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Statistics for pedestrian

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pedestrian

The first known use of pedestrian was in 1716

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More Definitions for pedestrian



English Language Learners Definition of pedestrian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not interesting or unusual

: relating to or designed for people who are walking



English Language Learners Definition of pedestrian (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who is walking in a city, along a road, etc.


pe·​des·​tri·​an | \ pə-ˈdes-trē-ən \

Kids Definition of pedestrian

: a person who is walking

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Comments on pedestrian

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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