spec·​ta·​tor ˈspek-ˌtā-tər How to pronounce spectator (audio)
: one who looks on or watches
: a shoe having contrasting colors with a perforated design at the toe and sometimes heel
spectator adjective
spectatorial adjective
spectatorship noun

Examples of spectator in a Sentence

The spectators lining the road cheered the racers on. The accident attracted a large crowd of spectators. I wasn't a participant in the preparations, merely a spectator.
Recent Examples on the Web The Mercedes hit the slower car, flipped in the air, and landed in a crowd of spectators, killing 85 people and injuring more than 120. Bob Sorokanich, Robb Report, 17 Apr. 2024 The race, which started in 1897, attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators each year who cheer on athletes through their epic journey. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 15 Apr. 2024 And over the years, the free-spirited golfer has made headlines for everything from allegedly gambling away about $55 million to setting up a college fund with his winnings from the 1991 PGA Championship for the daughters of a spectator struck dead by lightning at the event. Lynsey Eidell, Peoplemag, 14 Apr. 2024 Overpasses and roadsides were crowded with spectators. Robert D. McFadden, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2024 As millions of spectators across the U.S. gather to watch Monday's total solar eclipse, some are concerned over radiation, but NASA has debunked myths around the eclipse. Aliza Chasan, CBS News, 8 Apr. 2024 Millions of spectators along a narrow corridor stretching from Mexico to the U.S. to Canada eagerly awaited Monday’s celestial sensation — a total eclipse of the sun — even as forecasters called for clouds. Marcia Dunn, Twin Cities, 7 Apr. 2024 Unlike partial solar eclipses, a total eclipse offers spectators a unique opportunity to look at the phenomenon with the naked eye, but only during the brief period of totality − when the moon completely blocks out the sun and darkness falls. USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2024 An estimated 200 people blocked the intersection of Lone Tree Way and Golf Course Road in Antioch early Sunday morning as cars spun donuts, and spectators shot off rounds of fireworks, authorities said. Judith Prieve, The Mercury News, 2 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spectator.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, from spectare to watch

First Known Use

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spectator was circa 1586

Dictionary Entries Near spectator

Cite this Entry

“Spectator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spectator. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


spec·​ta·​tor ˈspek-ˌtāt-ər How to pronounce spectator (audio)
: a person who looks on (as at a sports event)
spectator adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on spectator

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