In general, spectacle refers to an event that is memorable for the appearance it creates. Derived in Middle English from c. 1340 as "specially prepared or arranged display" it was borrowed from Old French spectacle, itself a reflection of the Latin spectaculum "a show" from spectare "to view, watch" frequentative form of specere "to look at." The word spectacle has also been a term of art in theater dating from the 17th century in English drama.
Famous quotes containing the word spectacle:
“We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.”
—Thomas Babington Macaulay (18001859)
“The spectacle [of American politics] resembles that of swarms of insects changing from worms to wings. They must get the wings or die. For our salvation, Mr. Wilbur Wright is providing wings. He will also have to provide a new insect to use them.”
—Henry Brooks Adams (18381918)
“My curiosity to see the melancholy spectacle of the executions was so strong that I could not resist it, although I was sensible that I would suffer much from it.... I got upon a scaffold near the fatal tree so that I could clearly see all the dismal scene.... I was most terribly shocked, and thrown into a very deep melancholy.”
—James Boswell (17401795)