1. something or someone seen (especially a notable or unusual sight)
; - Example: "the tragic spectacle of cripples trying to escape"
2. an elaborate and remarkable display on a lavish scale
3. a blunder that makes you look ridiculous
; used in the phrase `make a spectacle of' yourself
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Spectacle \Spec"ta*cle\, n. [F., fr. L. spectaculum, fr.
spectare to look at, to behold, v. intens. fr. specere. See
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. [Obs.]
Poverty a spectacle is, as thinketh me,
Through which he may his very friends see.
3. pl. 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
4. pl. Fig.: An aid to the intellectual sight.
Shakespeare . . . needed not the spectacles of books
to read nature. --Dryden.
Syn: Show; sight; exhibition; representation; pageant.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: something or someone seen (especially a notable or unusual
sight); "the tragic spectacle of cripples trying to escape"
2: an elaborate and remarkable display on a lavish scale
3: a blunder that makes you look ridiculous; used in the phrase
`make a spectacle of' yourself
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
164 Moby Thesaurus words for "spectacle":
Grand Guignol, Passion play, Tom show, amazement, antimasque,
astonishing thing, astonishment, audience success, ballet, blazon,
bomb, bravura, brilliancy, broadcast drama, burlesque show,
charade, cliff hanger, closet drama, comedy drama, cosmorama,
critical success, curiosity, cyclorama, daring, dash,
daytime serial, demonstration, dialogue, diorama, display,
documentary drama, drama, dramalogue, dramatic play,
dramatic series, dramatics, duodrama, duologue, eclat,
epic theater, etalage, event, exception, exhibit, exhibition,
exhibitionism, experimental theater, exposition, extravaganza,
eyeglasses, failure, false front, fanfaronade, figure, flair,
flaunt, flaunting, flop, flourish, fool, gasser, gazingstock,
georama, giveaway, glasses, happening, histrionics, hit, hit show,
improvisational drama, legitimate drama, light show, manifestation,
marvel, marvelment, masque, melodrama, minstrel show, miracle,
miracle play, monodrama, monologue, morality, morality play,
music drama, musical revue, myriorama, mystery, mystery play,
nonesuch, opera, pageant, pageantry, panel show, panorama,
pantomime, parade, pastoral, pastoral drama, performance,
phantasmagoria, phenomenon, piece, play, playlet, pomp,
presentation, problem play, prodigy, psychedelic show, psychodrama,
quite a thing, quiz show, radio drama, rarity, representation,
review, revue, sensation, sensational play, serial, sham,
shifting scene, show, showing-off, sight, sitcom, situation comedy,
sketch, skit, soap, soap opera, sociodrama, something else, specs,
spectacles, splash, splurge, stage play, stage show, staginess,
straight drama, stunner, success, suspense drama, tableau,
tableau vivant, talk show, teleplay, television drama,
television play, theater of cruelty, theatrics, total theater,
variety show, vaudeville, vaudeville show, vaunt, vehicle, wonder,
wonderful thing, wonderment, word-of-mouth success, work