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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.

  • Serfs were too likely to be questioned by the first passer-by who noticed them.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • He therefore frequently left his cavern, went to the side of the road, and gobbled up a passer-by.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • He could not get out, so he waited patiently for some passer-by.

    Children of Borneo Edwin Herbert Gomes
  • The cabman bought a torch from a passer-by, and stuck it in his whip-barrel.

    A Son of Hagar Sir Hall Caine
  • Then she raised her eyes and pointed, with a little laugh, to a passer-by.

    The Gentle Art of Cooking Wives Elizabeth Strong Worthington
  • It was evident that the lantern swung in the hands of the passer-by—the shadow wavered and seemed agitated.

  • The sacked nun sought with her eyes some passer-by whom she might question.

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
  • 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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