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Webster 1913 Edition


Spectacle

Spec′ta-cle

,
Noun.
[F., fr. L.
spectaculum
, fr.
spectare
to look at, to behold, v. intens. fr.
specere
. See
Spy
.]
1.
Something exhibited to view; usually, something presented to view as extraordinary, or as unusual and worthy of special notice; a remarkable or noteworthy sight; a show; a pageant; a gazingstock.
O, piteous
spectacle
? O, bloody times!
Shakespeare
2.
A spy-glass; a looking-glass.
[Obs.]
Poverty a
spectacle
is, as thinketh me,
Through which he may his very friends see.
Chaucer.
3.
pl.
An optical instrument consisting of two lenses set in a light frame, and worn to assist sight, to obviate some defect in the organs of vision, or to shield the eyes from bright light.
4.
pl.
Fig.: An aid to the intellectual sight.
Shakespeare . . . needed not the
spectacles
of books to read nature.
Dryden.
Syn. – Show; sight; exhibition; representation; pageant.

Definition 2021


spectacle

spectacle

English

Noun

spectacle (plural spectacles)

  1. An exciting or extraordinary exhibition, performance or event.
    • 22 March 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club The Hunger Games
      In movie terms, it suggests Paul Verhoeven in Robocop/Starship Troopers mode, an R-rated bloodbath where the grim spectacle of children murdering each other on television is bread-and-circuses for the age of reality TV, enforced by a totalitarian regime to keep the masses at bay.
  2. An embarrassing situation
    He made a spectacle out of himself
  3. (usually in the plural) An optical instrument consisting of two lenses set in a light frame, and worn to assist sight, to obviate some defect in the organs of vision, or to shield the eyes from bright light.
  4. (figuratively) An aid to the intellectual sight.
    • Chaucer
      Poverty a spectacle is, as thinketh me, Through which he may his very friends see.
  5. (obsolete) A spyglass; a looking-glass.
  6. The brille of a snake.

Synonyms

Related terms

Translations

External links

  • spectacle in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • spectacle in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

French

Etymology

From Latin spectaculum, from spectare "to look".

Pronunciation

Noun

spectacle m (plural spectacles)

  1. a show, a spectacle, a performance, a concert
  2. a sight, a showing, a display
    Devant un tel spectacle ils se jetèrent à genoux pleurant les morts de leurs compatriotes. They went down on their knees crying for the deaths of their fellow countrymen at this atrocious sight.