A spectacle is something you can't believe you are seeing. Get on top of your desk at work in your underpants while playing the kazoo and you're making a spectacle of yourself.

The word spectacle comes from the Latin spectaculum meaning "public show," an apt translation because a spectacle, like a public show, is something worth watching. A ballet is a spectacle, or an elaborate production worth watching. Often the word is used to describe something that has a particularly exciting visual element to it — like an acrobatic display or a magic trick. It's something you have to see to really appreciate.

Definitions of spectacle
  1. noun
    something or someone seen (especially a notable or unusual sight)
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    type of:
    anything that is seen
  2. noun
    an elaborate and remarkable display on a lavish scale
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    bullfight, corrida
    a Spanish or Portuguese or Latin American spectacle; a matador baits and (usually) kills a bull in an arena before many spectators
    naumachia, naumachy
    a naval spectacle; a mock sea battle put on by the ancient Romans
    a bullfight in which the bulls are less than four years old
    type of:
    display, presentation
    a visual representation of something
  3. noun
    a blunder that makes you look ridiculous; used in the phrase `make a spectacle of' yourself
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    type of:
    bloomer, blooper, blunder, boo-boo, botch, bungle, flub, foul-up, pratfall
    an embarrassing mistake
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘spectacle'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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