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[pas-uh n-jer] /ˈpæs ən dʒər/
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 forms
nonpassenger, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for passenger
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Another half-hour, and—unless help arrived—every passenger must swim for it.

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

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • The original ticket of this passenger was then offered in evidence.

    The Everett massacre Walker C. Smith
  • 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
  • So the passenger traffic between Amoy and the southern colonies is very great.

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 Brit) a member of a group or team who is a burden on the others through not participating fully in the work
Word Origin
C14: from Old French passager passing, from passage1
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
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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
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