A beholder is an observer: someone who gains awareness of things through the senses, especially sight. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then the person who is observing gets to decide what is beautiful.

A common saying is "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," which means beauty doesn't exist on its own but is created by observers. That famous quote can help you remember that a beholder is someone who sees or otherwise experiences things, becoming aware of them. To be a beholder, you have to pay attention. Different beholders might take in different aspects of the same event, like witnesses to a crime.

Definitions of beholder

n a person who becomes aware (of things or events) through the senses

observer, perceiver, percipient
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eyeglass wearer
a person who wears spectacles in order to see better
discoverer, finder, spotter
someone who is the first to observe something
attender, auditor, hearer, listener
someone who listens attentively
one whose mental imagery is auditory rather than visual or motor
one whose prevailing mental imagery takes the form of inner feelings of action
someone who takes notice
an observer who perceives visually
looker, spectator, viewer, watcher, witness
a close observer; someone who looks at something (such as an exhibition of some kind)
visualiser, visualizer
one whose prevailing mental imagery is visual
informant, witness, witnesser
someone who sees an event and reports what happened
attestant, attester
someone who affirms or vouches for the correctness or truth or genuineness of something
a viewer who looks around casually without seeking anything in particular
a nonparticipant spectator
a spectator who shouts encouragement
someone who is the first of two or more people to discover something
a secret listener to private conversations
a spectator who can describe what happened
a spectator who stares stupidly without intelligent awareness
motion-picture fan, moviegoer
someone who goes to see movies
a viewer who gives a flirtatious or lewd look at another person
looker-on, onlooker
someone who looks on
playgoer, theatergoer, theatregoer
someone who attends the theater
rubberneck, rubbernecker
a person who stares inquisitively
a secret watcher; someone who secretly watches other people
a viewer who gazes fixedly (often with hostility)
deponent, deposer, testifier
a person who testifies or gives a deposition
Peeping Tom, peeper, voyeur
a viewer who enjoys seeing the sex acts or sex organs of others
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being