[pas-uh n-jer]


a person who is traveling in an automobile, bus, train, airplane, or other conveyance, especially one who is not the driver, pilot, or the like.
a wayfarer; traveler.

Origin of passenger

1300–50; Middle English passager < Middle French, noun use of passag(i)er (adj.) passing, temporary; see passage1, -ier2; for -n- cf. messenger, harbinger, scavenger, popinjay
Related formsnon·pas·sen·ger, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for passenger

Contemporary Examples of passenger

Historical Examples of passenger

  • Half fearfully I look at my passenger, but he is a black man.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • I was put on board as a passenger, and we sailed about a week after the ship got in from London.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • We had a passenger, who passed for some revolutionary man, who also landed secretly.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • She was the only passenger in the diligence, and the door was locked.

  • As he walked up the deck, he saw there was one passenger who had been earlier than himself.

British Dictionary definitions for passenger



  1. a person travelling in a car, train, boat, etc, not driven by him
  2. (as modifier)a passenger seat
mainly British a member of a group or team who is a burden on the others through not participating fully in the work

Word Origin for passenger

C14: from Old French passager passing, from passage 1
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 passenger

early 14c., passager "passer-by," from Old French passagier "traveler, passer-by" (Modern French passager), noun use of passagier (adj.) "passing, fleeting, traveling," from passage (see passage).

And in this I resemble the Lappwing, who fearing hir young ones to be destroyed by passengers, flyeth with a false cry farre from their nestes, making those that looke for them seeke where they are not .... [John Lyly, "Euphues and His England," 1580]

The -n- was added early 15c. (cf. messenger, harbinger, scavenger, porringer). Meaning "one traveling in a vehicle or vessel" first attested 1510s. Passenger-pigeon of North America so called from 1802; extinct since 1914.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper