1. Something exhibited to view; usually, something presented to view as extraordinary, or as unusual and worthy of special notice; a remarkable or noteworthy sight; a show; a pageant; a gazingstock. O, piteous spectacle? O, bloody times! (Shak)
2. A spy-glass; a looking-glass. Poverty a spectacle is, as thinketh me, through which he may his very friends see. (Chaucer)
3. An optical instrument consisting of two lenses set in a light frame, and worn to assist sight, to obviate some defect in the organs of vision, or to shield the eyes from bright light.
4. An aid to the intellectual sight. Shakespeare . . . Needed not the spectacles of books to read nature. (Dryden)
Synonym: show, sight, exhibition, representation, pageant.
Origin: F, fr. L. Spectaculum, fr. Spectare to look at, to behold, v. Intens. Fr. Specere. See Spy.