[spek-tey-ter, spek-tey-]


a person who looks on or watches; onlooker; observer.
a person who is present at and views a spectacle, display, or the like; member of an audience.
Also called spectator shoe. a white shoe with a perforated wing tip and back trim, traditionally of dark brown, dark blue, or black but sometimes of a lighter color.

Origin of spectator

1580–90; < Latin spectātor, equivalent to spectā(re), frequentative of specere to look, regard + -tor -tor
Related formsspec·ta·to·ri·al [spek-tuh-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /ˌspɛk təˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, adjective

Spectator, The


a weekly periodical (1711–12, 1714) issued by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spectator

Contemporary Examples of spectator

Historical Examples of spectator

  • She said, "The Spectator is not what it used to be in my father's time."

  • Instead of trying to be the hero of his own history, he seeks to be the spectator of his own tragedy.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • I don't say who the man was, and I had nothing to do with the matter in any way except as a spectator.

  • But it is this peculiar difference which renders them interesting and charming to the spectator.

  • I used to turn as red as a poppy when I happened to meet the eye of some spectator.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

British Dictionary definitions for spectator



a person viewing anything; onlooker; observer

Word Origin for spectator

C16: from Latin, from spectāre to watch; see spectacle
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

Word Origin and History for spectator

1580s, from Latin spectator "viewer, watcher," from past participle stem of spectare "to view, watch" (see spectacle). Spectator sport is attested from 1943.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper