• synonyms


[spek-yuh-luh m]
See more synonyms for speculum on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural spec·u·la [spek-yuh-luh] /ˈspɛk yə lə/, spec·u·lums.
  1. a mirror or reflector, especially one of polished metal, as on a reflecting telescope.
  2. speculum metal.
  3. Surgery. an instrument for rendering a part accessible to observation, as by enlarging an orifice.
  4. Ornithology. a lustrous or specially colored area on the wings of certain birds.
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Origin of speculum

1590–1600; < Latin: mirror, equivalent to spec(ere) to look, behold + -ulum instrumental suffix; see -ule
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for speculum

speculum, reflector, gaper, imager

Examples from the Web for speculum

Historical Examples of speculum

  • But speculum metal is a material of a very intractable description.

    Great Astronomers

    R. S. Ball

  • The speculum had, consequently, not cooled uniformly, and hence the fracture had resulted.

  • The above process may be employed for speculum metal, or pitch may be used.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • It is finished on the speculum itself with a little flour of emery.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • That of the great Rosse speculum was no less than four tons.

British Dictionary definitions for speculum


noun plural -la (-lə) or -lums
  1. a mirror, esp one made of polished metal for use in a telescope, etc
  2. med an instrument for dilating a bodily cavity or passage to permit examination of its interior
  3. a patch of distinctive colour on the wing of a bird, esp in certain ducks
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Word Origin for speculum

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

Word Origin and History for speculum


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

speculum in Medicine


n. pl. spec•u•lums
  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.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.