[ spek-tuh-kuhl ]
/ ˈspɛk tə kəl /


anything presented to the sight or view, especially something of a striking or impressive kind: The stars make a fine spectacle tonight.
a public show or display, especially on a large scale: The coronation was a lavish spectacle.
spectacles. eyeglasses, especially with pieces passing over or around the ears for holding them in place.
Often spectacles.
  1. something resembling spectacles in shape or function.
  2. any of various devices suggesting spectacles, as one attached to a semaphore to display lights or different colors by colored glass.
Obsolete. a spyglass.

Idioms for spectacle

    make a spectacle of oneself, to call attention to one's unseemly behavior; behave foolishly or badly in public: They tell me I made a spectacle of myself at the party last night.

Origin of spectacle

1300–50; Middle English < Latin spectāculum a sight, spectacle, derivative of spectāre, frequentative of specere to look, regard. See -cle2


spec·ta·cle·less, adjectivespec·ta·cle·like, adjectivesu·per·spec·ta·cle, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for spectacle

British Dictionary definitions for spectacle

/ (ˈspɛktəkəl) /


a public display or performance, esp a showy or ceremonial one
a thing or person seen, esp an unusual or ridiculous onehe makes a spectacle of himself
a strange or interesting object or phenomenon
(modifier) of or relating to spectaclesa spectacle case
See also spectacles

Word Origin for spectacle

C14: via Old French from Latin spectaculum a show, from spectāre to watch, 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