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or passer-by

[pas-er-bahy, -bahy, pah-ser-] /ˈpæs ərˈbaɪ, -ˌbaɪ, ˈpɑ sər-/
noun, plural passersby
[pas-erz-bahy, -bahy, pah-serz-] /ˈpæs ərzˈbaɪ, -ˌbaɪ, ˈpɑ sərz-/ (Show IPA)
a person passing by.
Origin of passerby
1560-70; pass by + -er1, with postposing of the particle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for passer-by
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One night a passer-by would have fancied something strange going on there.

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

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • He therefore frequently left his cavern, went to the side of the road, and gobbled up a passer-by.

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

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

    A Son of Hagar Sir Hall Caine
  • As he walked a passer-by could have seen that he was lame; he used a crutch.

    Sue, A Little Heroine L. T. Meade
  • It was evident that the lantern swung in the hands of the passer-by—the shadow wavered and seemed agitated.

  • As he was about to return to the charge her Ladyship desired a passer-by to summon her carriage.

    The Young Duke Benjamin Disraeli
  • In his paroxysms, so strong an impulse to kill seized him that he would have thrown himself upon the first passer-by.

    Doctor Pascal Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for passer-by


noun (pl) 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
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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
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