from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that looks on; a spectator.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spectator; someone looks on or watches, without becoming involved or participating.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Reading as an onlooker is such a treat and Elizabeth Baines positions the fulcrum of each story with absolute precision and then, with the most feather-weight whispers, proceeds to tip the balance of power first one way then the next.

    Balancing on the Edge of the World

  • Motives matter greatly, however, in onlooker judgments about acts of terrorism.

    Think Progress » Bush Meets Privately With Think Tank Promoting Military Strike On Iran

  • Unless some sober onlooker is keeping track for you (or a guy with an iron bladder takes it very seriously), chances are you're going to lose track of what number you're on when someone goes to the bathroom.

    A Very Manly Game

  • If it were at all a likeness, the woman who gazed frankly out upon the onlooker from the card-mount must have been a striking creature indeed.

    Semper Idem

  • Most infuriating to the onlooker was the fact that Minto Mrs. Moore never gave the faintest hint of gratitude: indeed she regarded herself as J's benefactor: presumably on the grounds that she had rescued him from the twin evils of bachelordom and matrimony at one fell swoop!

    On Mrs. Moore

  • He was a trick rider, and all the spectacular feats that appealed to the onlooker were his.

    Wyoming, a Story of the Outdoor West

  • What might mystify an onlooker was the fact that both players broker the other's serve no fewer than six times in the match.

    NYT > Home Page

  • After having been obliged to surrender the supreme command, he followed the army, like a mock emperor, a kind of onlooker, a superfluous piece on the board.

    Recollections Of My Childhood And Youth

  • It is the lovable, part-time philanthropist multimillionaire's word against an "onlooker" at Los Angeles's Madeo Restaurant.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • And the gyrations of arms, heads and bodily contortions which, strangely, seem to be indispensable with the exchanges of greetings among some of the Latin races, were enough to cause any sedate and practical onlooker to fear that a limb or two of the most vehement of the excited performers would suddenly be severed and fly off.

    A Renegade History of the United States


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.