Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Something that can be seen or viewed, especially something of a remarkable or impressive nature.
  • noun A public performance or display, especially one on a large or lavish scale.
  • noun A regrettable public display, as of bad behavior.
  • noun A pair of eyeglasses.
  • noun Something resembling eyeglasses in shape or suggesting them in function.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An exhibition; exposure to sight or view; an open display; also, a thing looked at or to be looked at; a sight; a gazing-stock; a show; especially, a deplorable exhibition.
  • noun Specifically, a public show or display for the gratification of the eye; something designed or arranged to attract and entertain spectators; a pageant; a parade: as, a royal or a religious spectacle; a military or a dramatic spectacle.
  • noun A looking-glass; a mirror.
  • noun A spyglass; a speculum.
  • noun plural A pair of lenses set in a frame adjusted to the eyes, to correct or improve defective vision; also, sometimes, a similar frame with pieces of plain white or colored glass to protect the eyes from glare or dust: commonly called a pair of spectacles.
  • noun plural Figuratively, visual aids of any kind, physical or mental; instruments of or assistance in seeing or understanding; also, instruments or means of seeing or understanding otherwise than by natural or normal vision or perception: as, rose-colored spectacles; I cannot see things with your spectacles.
  • noun plural In zoology, a marking resembling a pair of spectacles, especially about the eyes: as, the spectacles of the cobra. See cut under cobra-de-capello.
  • noun A form of spectacles having in each bow two half glasses differing in power or character; divided spectacles. See def. 5.
  • noun plural Signal-glasses of varying color, held in a metal frame suggesting spectacles, to be moved in front of the lenses of signal-lights at night: usually of red and green if there are two. Also used, in the singular, for one frame with its colored glass.
  • noun A frame with two bow-shaped handles for carrying well-boring tools.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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.
  • noun obsolete A spy-glass; a looking-glass.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Fig.: An aid to the intellectual sight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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
  • noun An exciting exhibition, performance or event.
  • noun An embarrassing situation
  • noun 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.
  • noun figuratively An aid to the intellectual sight.
  • noun obsolete A spyglass; a looking-glass.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun something or someone seen (especially a notable or unusual sight)
  • noun an elaborate and remarkable display on a lavish scale
  • noun a blunder that makes you look ridiculous; used in the phrase `make a spectacle of' yourself

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin spectāculum, from spectāre, to watch, frequentative of specere, to look at; see spek- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French spectacle, from Latin spectaculum ("a show, spectacle"), from spectare ("to see, behold"), frequentative of specere ("to see"); see species.

Examples

  • I've lived in New York City long enough to expect the unexpected and keep cool in the presence of insanity, but an Orthodox Jew cold busting his human beatbox, dressed only in his skivvies and swilling Jack Daniels, still feels to me worthy of the term "spectacle."

    Patrick Egan: Family Feud: Teeth of the Sons

  • I've lived in New York City long enough to expect the unexpected and keep cool in the presence of insanity, but an Orthodox Jew cold busting his human beatbox, dressed only in his skivvies and swilling Jack Daniels, still feels to me worthy of the term "spectacle."

    Patrick Egan: Family Feud: Teeth of the Sons

  • I've lived in New York City long enough to expect the unexpected and keep cool in the presence of insanity, but an Orthodox Jew cold busting his human beatbox, dressed only in his skivvies and swilling Jack Daniels, still feels to me worthy of the term "spectacle."

    Patrick Egan: Family Feud: Teeth of the Sons

  • I've lived in New York City long enough to expect the unexpected and keep cool in the presence of insanity, but an Orthodox Jew cold busting his human beatbox, dressed only in his skivvies and swilling Jack Daniels, still feels to me worthy of the term "spectacle."

    Patrick Egan: Family Feud: Teeth of the Sons

  • I've lived in New York City long enough to expect the unexpected and keep cool in the presence of insanity, but an Orthodox Jew cold busting his human beatbox, dressed only in his skivvies and swilling Jack Daniels, still feels to me worthy of the term "spectacle."

    Patrick Egan: Family Feud: Teeth of the Sons

  • I've lived in New York City long enough to expect the unexpected and keep cool in the presence of insanity, but an Orthodox Jew cold busting his human beatbox, dressed only in his skivvies and swilling Jack Daniels, still feels to me worthy of the term "spectacle."

    Patrick Egan: Family Feud: Teeth of the Sons

  • I've lived in New York City long enough to expect the unexpected and keep cool in the presence of insanity, but an Orthodox Jew cold busting his human beatbox, dressed only in his skivvies and swilling Jack Daniels, still feels to me worthy of the term "spectacle."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • The NFL all-star showdown was played in Honolulu from 1980 through 2009 in the week after the Super Bowl but moved this year to a week before the Super Bowl and to the site of the title spectacle as an experiment.

    Raw Story

  • John Hendrickson of the Denver Post logged into the Occupy Wall Street stream of consciousness over the weekend with a post on the newspaper's website and in the printed pages of its Sunday entertainment section, providing a little extra to what he calls the "spectacle" of the occupy movement.

    Robert Schwab: The Entertainment Value of Occupying Wall Street

  • John Hendrickson of the Denver Post logged into the Occupy Wall Street stream of consciousness over the weekend with a post on the newspaper's website and in the printed pages of its Sunday entertainment section, providing a little extra to what he calls the "spectacle" of the occupy movement.

    Robert Schwab: The Entertainment Value of Occupying Wall Street

Comments

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  • "the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity..."

    January 19, 2008

  • Wordie is counter-revolutionary.

    March 20, 2009

  • Che spettacolo!

    March 20, 2009