or pass·er-by

[pas-er-bahy, -bahy, pah-ser-]

noun, plural pass·ers·by [pas-erz-bahy, -bahy, pah-serz-] /ˈpæs ərzˈbaɪ, -ˌbaɪ, ˈpɑ sərz-/,

a person passing by.

Origin of passerby

1560–70; pass by + -er1, with postposing of the particle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for passer-by

Contemporary Examples of passer-by

Historical Examples of passer-by

  • This sound issued from the ragged individual, but the passer-by did not turn his head.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • It is the shadow of some passer-by thrown into relief on the light background.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • The cabman bought a torch from a passer-by, and stuck it in his whip-barrel.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • But no group is insistent that the passer-by should look at it.

  • How could the passer-by not be touched by the idea that the stone is so hard?

British Dictionary definitions for passer-by


noun plural passers-by

a person that is passing or going by, esp on foot
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 passer-by

also passerby, 1560s, from agent noun of pass (v.) + by; earlier, this sense was in passager (see passenger).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper