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"spectator," c.1600, from on + agent noun from look (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Examples from the Web for on-looker
Historical Examples
  • He was the on-looker, after all—not the experimenter he should have been and wished to be.

    The Shadow World

    Hamlin Garland
  • Then we disperse, but to any on-looker would seem to have dissolved.

  • An on-looker might have fancied that the would-be God had found his worshipper at last!

    Idolatry Julian Hawthorne
  • They had had only one on-looker—the sentry who stands at the corner of the gymnastic-school.

    Tales of Two Countries Alexander Kielland
  • The Republic will only appear to the on-looker to have come upon the scene as a means, not as an end.

  • Indeed, the on-looker who could not follow the king through its various evolutions would be dull of perception.

    Sharps and Flats John Nevil Maskelyne
  • Outwardly Friedrich's Life is quiet; busy, none can be more so; but to the on-looker, placid, polite especially.

  • Such an obvious current of popular opinion set an on-looker to rub his eyes, and feel if he were dreaming.

    Two Years in Oregon

    Wallis Nash
  • Then he was, somehow, in that grotesque position that is only absurd to the on-looker, on his knees beside her.

    Dangerous Days Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The slow pace required by the Dead March gave the on-looker time to study the antique style of military movement thus exemplified.

    Toronto of Old Henry Scadding

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