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spectacle

[spek-tuh-kuh l] /ˈspɛk tə kəl/
noun
1.
anything presented to the sight or view, especially something of a striking or impressive kind:
The stars make a fine spectacle tonight.
2.
a public show or display, especially on a large scale:
The coronation was a lavish spectacle.
3.
spectacles, eyeglasses, especially with pieces passing over or around the ears for holding them in place.
4.
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.
5.
Obsolete. a spyglass.
Idioms
6.
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
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English < Latin spectāculum a sight, spectacle, derivative of spectāre, frequentative of specere to look, regard. See -cle2
Related forms
spectacleless, adjective
spectaclelike, adjective
superspectacle, noun
Synonyms
1. marvel, wonder, sight, show.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for spectacle
  • Rent something with four-wheel-drive, and experience the spectacle on a new, free self-guided tour.
  • In a month-long spectacle of feasting and negotiating on a scale that would never be repeated, they both got their wish.
  • So it's no surprise that the largest televised spectacle in the world has a history of using jetpacks.
  • It would have been a terrific spectacle, but there were too many potential hazards.
  • Not only had the crew members provided their captors with the spectacle they wanted but some now sought to profit from it.
  • Debates are barbed and sometimes vicious-especially during the gladiatorial spectacle of prime minister's questions.
  • These officials cannot have been too sorry about the spectacle of the mobsters wiping each other out in jail.
  • Cultural observers bemoan the way electronic media-with their demand for spectacle and brevity-have shortened our attention spans.
  • When snapping a spectacle-a coronation, say, or a parade-he trained his camera on the unsuspecting bystanders.
  • The spectacle seems absurd in any number of different ways.
British Dictionary definitions for spectacle

spectacle

/ˈspɛktəkəl/
noun
1.
a public display or performance, esp a showy or ceremonial one
2.
a thing or person seen, esp an unusual or ridiculous one: he makes a spectacle of himself
3.
a strange or interesting object or phenomenon
4.
(modifier) of or relating to spectacles: a spectacle case
See also spectacles
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for spectacle
n.

mid-14c., "specially prepared or arranged display," from Old French spectacle, from Latin spectaculum "a show, spectacle," from spectare "to view, watch," frequentative form of specere "to look at," from PIE *spek- "to observe" (see scope (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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