pe·​des·​tri·​an | \ pə-ˈde-strē-ən How to pronounce pedestrian (audio) \

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

Adjective 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 Noun The car slid off the road and almost hit a group of pedestrians.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The truss repair will be followed by the installation of a movable barrier system on the upper deck shoulder to create a bicycle-pedestrian path. Will Houston, The Mercury News, "Richmond-San Rafael Bridge project gets $19.9 million from gas tax," 17 Aug. 2019 Drivers killed 50 percent more pedestrians in 2018 than in 2009, compared to European countries which have reduced pedestrian deaths by a third over the past decade. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Pedestrian deaths keep rising in the U.S. Can Congress reverse the trend?," 11 July 2019 One of their wishes is to get a bike-pedestrian side path along 130th Street between Ellis Avenue and Indiana Avenue. Mary Wisniewski,, "Getting around without a car is tough on the Far South and Southeast sides; residents look for answers," 17 June 2019 Sheehan has advocated for additional sidewalks and pedestrian safety as well as the city’s backyard chicken program and the purchase of Constitution Green for $3.3 million to save a 100-plus-year-old live oak tree. Ryan Gillespie,, "Orlando mayor, City Council races are set. One incumbent wins re-election without opposition.," 13 Sep. 2019 The overall idea behind the revitalization project is to enhance the viability and pedestrian safety of downtown Clarendon Hills. Chuck Fieldman,, "Clarendon Hills getting another $1 million from Metra for new train station," 29 Aug. 2019 Bicycle parking pens with racks are located outside of the festival grounds to the right of the Sauvage and Gentilly pedestrian entrances. Jennifer Larino,, "A Jazz Fest guide for bicyclists (and drivers, too!)," 26 Apr. 2018 After more than 30 years of declining pedestrian fatalities, the number began to climb in 2010. Los Angeles Times, "Pedestrians die every 90 minutes in the U.S., and low-income areas are hurt most," 16 Sep. 2019 Youssefi’s death was the 12th pedestrian fatality in Fairfax this year. Washington Post, "Missing Fairfax teacher is found dead," 25 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Gated, high-hedged and camera-secured, the mansion is barely visible from the public streetfront — nosy pedestrians will catch only a fleeting glimpse of the three-story beige behemoth through a wall of evergreen trees., The Mercury News, "Photos: Ex-Facebook VP asks $35 million for major-league Silicon Valley mansion," 12 Sep. 2019 Eventually, Vega said, there may even be a trail system added for pedestrians to enjoy the resulting habitat. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Kuykendahl basin to blend nature with flood reduction efforts," 6 Sep. 2019 Panicked pedestrians in New York City fled Times Square on Tuesday night, mistaking a motorcycle's backfire for gunshots. NBC News, "USA Today's Virginia HQ evacuated amid reports of man with weapon," 7 Aug. 2019 Fifty-five pedestrians were critically hurt in crashes last year, according to the Department of Public Health. Rachel Swan,, "Surge of critical injuries on SF’s streets mirrors spike in fatalities," 16 Sep. 2019 Nearly 40,000 pedestrians have died since, according to federal data. Los Angeles Times, "Pedestrians die every 90 minutes in the U.S., and low-income areas are hurt most," 16 Sep. 2019 As of Friday, pedestrians in downtown New Britain can get a quick lesson about how a non-descript Main Street property has plenty of history behind it. Don Stacom,, "More than 165 years later, New Britain honors CCSU as state’s first integrated university," 13 Sep. 2019 The drums and bullhorns are gone now, and about 10 picketers marched quietly Wednesday morning, pausing to let pedestrians pass on the sidewalk. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "Thousands of workers at 26 Chicago hotels went on strike in September 2018. A year later, at one hotel they’re still walking picket lines.," 12 Sep. 2019 Hillsboro Police and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office have arrested a woman who is suspected of hitting two pedestrians and killing one in January. oregonlive, "North Plains woman, 77, arrested after fatal January hit-and-run," 6 Sep. 2019

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

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for pedestrian

The first known use of pedestrian was in 1716

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More Definitions for pedestrian


How to pronounce pedestrian (audio)

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 How to pronounce pedestrian (audio) \

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).


something of little or no value

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