pertaining to or having the properties of a mirror.
pertaining to a speculum.
Optics. (of reflected light) directed, as from a smooth, polished surface (opposed to diffuse).

Origin of specular

1570–80; < Latin speculāris, equivalent to specul(um) a mirror (spec(ere) to look, regard + -ulum instrumental suffix; see -ule) + -āris -ar1
Related formsspec·u·lar·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for specular

Historical Examples of specular

  • That done he will choose a specular point himself and keep a sharp look-out.

  • Galena is often mistaken for other ores, specular iron ore for instance.

    The A B C of Mining

    Charles A. Bramble

  • Does it seem cold and unhandsome, this specular survey of persons?


    Amos Bronson Alcott

  • Magnetite or magnetic iron ore, specular iron, and limonite are also oxides of iron.


    James Geikie

  • According to Campbell-Swinton the “diffuse” reflection is accompanied by a certain amount of “specular” reflection.

British Dictionary definitions for specular



of, relating to, or having the properties of a mirrorspecular reflection
of or relating to a speculum
Derived Formsspecularly, adverb

Word Origin for specular

C16: from Latin speculāris, from speculum a 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

Word Origin and History for specular

1570s, of mirrors and glass, from Latin specularis, from speculum (see speculum). Of sight or vision, from 1650s, from Latin speculari "to spy" (see speculation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper