An onlooker is someone who watches something but isn't directly involved in it. The spectators at a boxing match or a dog show or a marathon are all onlookers.

If you observe an event but you don't participate in it, you're an onlooker. The event itself might be a performance of some kind, like a concert or a football match, or it might be some undesirable occurrence: "The firefighters battled the blaze while onlookers watched in horror." Onlooker dates from the early seventeenth century, from the sense of "looking on."

Definitions of onlooker
  1. noun
    someone who looks on
    synonyms: looker-on
    see moresee less
    type of:
    looker, spectator, viewer, watcher, witness
    a close observer; someone who looks at something (such as an exhibition of some kind)
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘onlooker'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up onlooker for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer