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  • Adj.




My brother has decided to become a banker, which seems to me like a boring, unimaginative, and pedestrian career. He has always been artistic, so I imagined his becoming a painter or a sculptor, rather than working a pedestrian, nine-to-five, everyday job. I think he wanted the financial security that is more easily attained through pedestrian, commonplace, run-of-the-mill work.

Quiz: When is something considered pedestrian?

  • When it is ordinary and blah.
  • When it goes against expectations.
  • When most people do it or believe in it.

Memory Hook

Pedestrian Pedestrian Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher, was such a pedestrian pedestrian because he would take the same walk at the same time each and every day, each and every day of his life.


  • In one of his very few artistic pronouncements he claimed that the writer's duty is "to meet as many pedestrian people as possible and to listen to the most pedestrian conversation." He raised the pedestrian to the sublime. —The Atlantic
  • The book, winner of a European Union Prize for Literature in 2015, is most affecting when Mitchell must consider how much human compassion should interfere with inflexible rules and pedestrian logistics. —The Christian Science Monitor
  • Anyone who has tried to write an artful sentence knows that it involves fastening the known to the unknown by some mysterious process that takes place “at the roots of thinking,” where the brain wrests an idea from an inchoate mass of sensory data and encodes it in parts of speech that another mind can decrypt. Pedestrian language bears few traces of the staggering richness and particularity that are lost in the transaction. —The New Yorker

Word Ingredients

ped foot
est be
-an relating to

The adjective pedestrian refers to the place where everyone is “on foot,” that is, the common place where people or pedestrians usually walk; hence, the heavily-used path would be the pedestrian, or ordinary, one.

Word Constellation


Word Variants

pedestrian n someone who walks rather than rides