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[spek-tey-ter, spek-tey-] /ˈspɛk teɪ tər, spɛkˈteɪ-/
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.
1580-90; < Latin spectātor, equivalent to spectā(re), frequentative of specere to look, regard + -tor -tor
Related forms
[spek-tuh-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /ˌspɛk təˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/ (Show IPA),

Spectator, The

a weekly periodical (1711–12, 1714) issued by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for spectators
  • It was news that made some spectators ready to switch bets.
  • The results should make any spectators who figure they could last a while in the ring with a pro think again.
  • The fourth wall of the television makes far too many of us spectators rather than participants.
  • How spectators would respond to her first public appearance since she left admissions, she could only guess.
  • He must be thinking all the while of his appearance, because he knows that all the while the spectators are judging of it.
  • The cavalcade provoked no comments from the spectators, nor was any word uttered by the escort.
  • We spectators, let us imagine, are also of average height.
  • spectators drifted from table to table, watching the action, or sat on folding chairs against the walls.
  • It went wrong and some spectators got sprayed with burning fluid when a bottle caught fire.
  • Excavations reveal the remains of sacrifices once witnessed by thousands of spectators.
British Dictionary definitions for spectators


a person viewing anything; onlooker; observer
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for spectators



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
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