Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[spek-yuh-luh m] /ˈspɛk yə ləm/
noun, plural specula
[spek-yuh-luh] /ˈspɛk yə lə/ (Show IPA),
a mirror or reflector, especially one of polished metal, as on a reflecting telescope.
Surgery. an instrument for rendering a part accessible to observation, as by enlarging an orifice.
Ornithology. a lustrous or specially colored area on the wings of certain birds.
Origin of speculum
1590-1600; < Latin: mirror, equivalent to spec(ere) to look, behold + -ulum instrumental suffix; see -ule Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for speculum
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for speculum


noun (pl) -la (-lə), -lums
a mirror, esp one made of polished metal for use in a telescope, etc
(med) an instrument for dilating a bodily cavity or passage to permit examination of its interior
a patch of distinctive colour on the wing of a bird, esp in certain ducks
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: mirror, from specere to look at
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for speculum

1590s, from Latin speculum, literally "mirror," from specere "to look at, view" (see scope (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
speculum in Medicine

speculum spec·u·lum (spěk'yə-ləm)
n. pl. spec·u·lums or spec·u·la (-lə)

  1. A mirror or polished metal plate that is used as a reflector in optical instruments.

  2. An instrument that is used to dilate the opening of a body cavity for medical examination.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for speculum

Word Value for speculum

Scrabble Words With Friends