spec·​ta·​cle | \ ˈspek-ti-kəl also -ˌti-kəl How to pronounce spectacle (audio) \

Definition of spectacle

1a : something exhibited to view as unusual, notable, or entertaining especially : an eye-catching or dramatic public display
b : an object of curiosity or contempt made a spectacle of herself
2 spectacles plural : glasses
3 : something (such as natural markings on an animal) suggesting a pair of glasses

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Examples of spectacle in a Sentence

He peered through his spectacles. the multimedia spectacles that have become established parts of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympic Games

Recent Examples on the Web

The spectacle was a romantic gesture from Kanye, but many fans were concerned about Kenny G's well being, since the musician seemed to stuck in a room filled with single roses! Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here's How All of Your Favorite Celeb Couples Celebrated Valentine's Day," 15 Feb. 2019 From the moment the pair shook hands in front of alternating flags, the first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader was an exercise in spectacle and pageantry above all else. Jay Willis, GQ, "Donald Trump Got the Only Thing He Wanted," 12 June 2018 The Real Housewives of New York franchise has certainly added spectacle to Radziwill’s profile, but What Remains, her first memoir, is what defines her story. refinery29.com, "Carole Radziwill Doesn't Care If She's Your Favorite Real Housewife," 11 June 2018 Now in its 14th year, the nightly spectacle is a popular local tradition, drawing thousands of spectators through Dec. 24 along Bellevue Way between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square. Madeline Mckenzie, The Seattle Times, "All is bright on the Eastside with Garden d’Lights in Bellevue, Redmond Lights and more," 28 Nov. 2018 What could differentiate the Intel spectacle would be if the drones were allowed to hover over the audience in addition to the performers. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "100 drones are joining the cast of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular," 29 Oct. 2018 The spectacle and surprise on display at the three inter-Korean summits this year have been, at times, intense. Kim Tong-hyung, Fox News, "A Kim Jong Un visit to Seoul? It would be surreal challenge," 20 Sep. 2018 While, Gucci held its evening spectacle at France’s answer to Studio 54, the iconic Le Palace — once the club that showcased fashion’s most dramatic looks. Thomas Adamson, The Seattle Times, "Dior and Gucci theatrically kick off Paris Fashion Week," 24 Sep. 2018 Last year, the brand also faced some issues with their Shanghai spectacle due to the visa rules in China. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Victoria Secret Show Is Returning to New York City," 17 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spectacle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spectacle

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for spectacle

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin spectaculum, from spectare to watch, frequentative of specere to look, look at — more at spy

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for spectacle

The first known use of spectacle was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of spectacle

: a very impressive show
: something that attracts attention because it is very unusual or very shocking
old-fashioned : a pair of lenses set into a frame and worn over the eyes


spec·​ta·​cle | \ ˈspek-ti-kəl How to pronounce spectacle (audio) \

Kids Definition of spectacle

1 : an unusual or impressive public display (as a big parade)
2 spectacles plural : glass sense 3
3 : an object of curiosity or contempt Don't make a spectacle of yourself!

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Comments on spectacle

What made you want to look up spectacle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a shady place in a garden or forest

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