spec·​ta·​cle | \ˈspek-ti-kəl also -ˌti-kəl \

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

Instead of spectacles that used to be reserved for special occasions, something like Barça-Bayern could become diluted daily fare. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Soccer’s Super League Threat Isn’t Going Away," 12 Nov. 2018 In recent seasons, Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent shows have become synonymous with spectacle, and tonight’s Spring 2019 collection was, of course, no exception. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Model Anja Rubik Just Got a David Bowie Red Dye Job for the Saint Laurent Runway," 25 Sep. 2018 Though my guess would be November, based on last year's runway spectacle, Victoria's Secret hasn't confirmed anything yet. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Where is the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2018? Everything We Know So Far," 17 Sep. 2018 Sarri smokes, wears retro spectacles, and hunches over to jot down notes on a small pad during matches. Steve Douglas, chicagotribune.com, "Chelsea replace Conte with former Napoli boss Sarri," 14 July 2018 What a spectacle Beckham and his fellow Major League Soccer ownership group stepped into in a Miami City Commission meeting quite unlike any other. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "David Beckham confronts his biggest fight yet to (finally) bring MLS soccer to Miami," 12 July 2018 This step isn’t about one-off finals and spectacles, though. Eric Van Allen, WIRED, "Live on ESPN: Is Esports Finally Ready for Its Crossover Moment?," 11 July 2018 The rain had slowed to a slight sprinkle enough to allow some wary residents to creep out of their vehicles to watch the spectacle, some under umbrellas. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty fireworks go on despite rain," 5 July 2018 The 42nd annual Macy’s 4th of July firework show combines a pyrotechnic spectacle -- which will be Macy’s largest firework display since the Millennial Celebration of 2000 -- with spectacular performances. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and More Set For Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Show," 2 July 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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Statistics for spectacle

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spectacle

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

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More Definitions for spectacle



English Language Learners Definition of spectacle

: a very impressive show

: something that attracts attention because it is very unusual or very shocking

spectacles : a pair of lenses set into a frame and worn over the eyes


spec·​ta·​cle | \ˈspek-ti-kəl \

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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