of or like a spectacle; marked by or given to an impressive, large-scale display.
dramatically daring or thrilling: a spectacular dive from a cliff.


a single television production featuring well-known performers and characterized by elaborate sets, costumes, staging, etc.Compare special(def 14).
an impressive, large-scale display: another Hollywood spectacular.

Origin of spectacular

1675–85; < Latin spectācul(um) (see spectacle) + -ar1
Related formsspec·tac·u·lar·i·ty [spek-tak-yuh-lar-i-tee] /spɛkˌtæk yəˈlær ɪ ti/, spec·tac·u·lar·ism, nounspec·tac·u·lar·ly, adverbnon·spec·tac·u·lar, adjectivenon·spec·tac·u·lar·ly, adverbun·spec·tac·u·lar, adjectiveun·spec·tac·u·lar·ly, adverb

Synonyms for spectacular

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unspectacular

Contemporary Examples of unspectacular

  • Meanwhile, Gonzaga has done what it always seems to do: play solid (if unspectacular) basketball all season long.

    The Daily Beast logo
    March Madness: 5 Games to Watch

    Ben Teitelbaum

    March 20, 2014

  • The actor's bizarre interlude essentially negated a solid if unspectacular performance by the Republican nominee for president.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Romney Camp Defends Eastwood

    Howard Kurtz

    August 31, 2012

Historical Examples of unspectacular

  • There was an unusual amount of press interest in what might have seemed a routine and unspectacular hearing.

    The Great Gray Plague

    Raymond F. Jones

  • She wasn't much to look at—not ugly, just small, brunette, and unspectacular—but she was a supernova of an assistant.

    Industrial Revolution

    Poul William Anderson

  • Kenwick watching her, felt a little cheated by the unspectacular quality of her technic.

    The Rest Hollow Mystery

    Rebecca N. Porter

  • Because of my guru's unspectacular guise, only a few of his contemporaries recognized him as a superman.

    Autobiography of a YOGI

    Paramhansa Yogananda

British Dictionary definitions for unspectacular



not of or resembling a spectacle; unimpressivea steady if unspectacular performance



of or resembling a spectacle; impressive, grand, or dramatic
unusually marked or greata spectacular increase in spending


a lavishly produced performance
Derived Formsspectacularly, adverb
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 unspectacular



1680s, from Latin spectaculum (see spectacle). As a noun, first attested 1890. Related: Spectacularly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper