I'm looking for a word to name or call a person who's sitting next to me and I mean it in general.

  • 1
    I think most people would just say "the person sitting next to me". Do you have a particular reason for condensing it?
    – user3169
    Mar 18, 2016 at 21:19

3 Answers 3


A seatmate.

A person who sits next to you on a bus, airplane, etc.

  • My spell checker may not recognize this word, but it seems to be gaining traction nonetheless. For example, a business consultant wrote: Maybe you've heard that you always want to talk to the people sitting next to you on the airplane. I take a more creative approach to meeting new people, but I still also talk to my seatmate.
    – J.R.
    Mar 18, 2016 at 8:36
  • A flatmate is somebody that you share a flat with. A seatmate sounds like somebody that you share a seat with.
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 18, 2016 at 8:50
  • what if he was sitting with me in a meeting can i still call him a seatmate
    – Charleslee
    Mar 18, 2016 at 9:21
  • @JavaLatte - That was my first thought, too, but as I snooped around the web, I found that the word means exactly what shin says that it means.
    – J.R.
    Mar 20, 2016 at 1:04
  • That may be a word, but nine times out of ten I'd say the guy sitting next to me. (American English) Mar 20, 2016 at 1:32

You can use the word neighbour to describe somebody sitting next to you on a plane or bus.

I chatted with my neighbour on the flight to New York

If you wanted to be completely clear that you were not talking about the man who lives in the house next to yours, you could say:

I chatted with the man in the neighbouring seat.

  • what if this person was sitting next to me in a meeting can i still call him a seatmate or neighbour?
    – Charleslee
    Mar 18, 2016 at 9:19
  • You can certainly call him a neighbour.
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 18, 2016 at 9:38
  • The first example is very ambiguous. The second is much more clear. Mar 18, 2016 at 10:25
  • 1
    Neighbor is the word I thought of, because in American English we don't really have a word we use for this. I'm not sure if I would ever use seatmate, as I'd opt for the guy sitting next to me nine times out of ten. Mar 20, 2016 at 1:30

This is a very uncommon word, but it is nonetheless a word in English.


It is a word that has minimal data on Merriam-Webster, but nonetheless, it has a place in their dictionary.

Also, to prove the existance and usage of this word, check out what Google Ngram has to say.

It should be a variation of the commonly used word 'Bystander'.

  • As a native speaker of American English I can say I have never used and would probably never use this word. Mar 20, 2016 at 1:28
  • @AlanCarmack, as a person who uses English, anywhere, I would never use this as well. But this word fits the requirement perfectly.
    – Varun Nair
    Mar 21, 2016 at 6:35
  • Great. Congratulations. You have literally answered the question. On ELU nothing further may be done. But since ELL is a learning site, it seems that to provide a word without saying that no one uses it is not necessarily meeting the learner's needs. Mar 21, 2016 at 12:54

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