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[on-loo k-er, awn-] /ˈɒnˌlʊk ər, ˈɔn-/
spectator; observer; witness.
Origin of onlooker
1600-10; on + looker, after verb phrase look on Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for onlooker
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If he were more of a "candle-holder" and onlooker, he would more resemble Hamlet.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • He had not been content to take up the position of onlooker and historian only.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • And it is often those deaths which seem most terrible to the onlooker, which are least so to the sufferer.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • To the onlooker who does not know its hazards faro is a funereal game.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • Here and there one which will haunt the onlooker through the rest of his days.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • The onlooker has no choice but to look at the hypnodisc as well.

British Dictionary definitions for onlooker


a person who observes without taking part
Derived Forms
onlooking, adjective
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 onlooker

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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