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Origin of bystander

First recorded in 1610–20; by- + stand + -er1

Synonyms for bystander

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bystander


  1. 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

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