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90s Slang You Should Know


[bahy-stan-der] /ˈbaɪˌstæn dər/
a person present but not involved; chance spectator; onlooker.
Origin of bystander
First recorded in 1610-20; by- + stand + -er1
observer, viewer, passerby, witness; rubberneck, sidewalk superintendent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bystander
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Troubles had apparently come in battalions, for Dare was informed by a bystander that Havill's wife was seriously ill also.

    A Laodicean Thomas Hardy
  • We asked a bystander, who looked like a fisherman, what that was for.

    Pages From an Old Volume of Life Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • He snatched it from the hand of a bystander, and again rushed into the smoking ruins.

  • "He wouldn't thank you, sir, for interfering," remarked a bystander.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • A bystander looking at her would have thought that the toy was much more to her than the conversation.

    Phineas Finn Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for bystander


a person present but not involved; onlooker; spectator
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bystander

1610s, from by + agent noun from stand (v.). They have been innocent at least since 1829.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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