Definition of spectacle in English:

spectacle

noun

  • 1A visually striking performance or display.

    ‘the acrobatic feats make a good spectacle’
    [mass noun] ‘the show is pure spectacle’
    • ‘The result was a visually satisfying and sumptuous spectacle; its 350 costumes must be every little girl's dream of a fairy tale.’
    • ‘Families strolled through the ancient streets enjoying the spectacle, buying cheap toys for the children, and snacking on street food.’
    • ‘By the 19th century the play had been transformed into a spectacle of patriotic pageantry celebrating imperial Britain and the glory of its military.’
    • ‘Instead, they were grand spectacles with thousands of spectators present to watch the coronations.’
    • ‘Gladiatorial combats, wild beast hunts, and public executions were important spectacles presented not only in Rome but throughout the Roman Empire.’
    • ‘Each year this has been a most impressive and enjoyable spectacle.’
    • ‘This horse and pony section has developed enormously over the past number of years and is a very colourful spectacle.’
    • ‘A handful of other artists staged theatrical public spectacles, performances grounded in the sociologies of place and personality.’
    • ‘If that isn't enough, lovely performer Shanna will also be on hand to perform that most exotic spectacle, belly-dancing.’
    • ‘Heather Taylor and Amy Chu produced and performed in the spectacle.’
    • ‘The play itself is a multi-media spectacle that uses puppetry, sound-effects, performing masks and a live band featuring some of the county's top musicians.’
    • ‘This promises first-class singing and colourful spectacle.’
    • ‘These ballets were often elaborate spectacles, intended to display the status of the nobility or monarchs who had commissioned them.’
    • ‘While medieval diners ate, at formal meals, they observed the spectacle that was performed between courses.’
    • ‘Moreover, each spectacle can be enjoyed by local residents as much as by tourists.’
    • ‘But don't expect gimmicky spectacle from their performance.’
    • ‘There will also be a series of workshops, exhibitions and spectacles.’
    • ‘In the end, we get a made-for-TV movie with a big budget: a dumb plot, poor performances and lots of spectacle.’
    • ‘Everywhere amazing spectacles were being performed, as crowds gathered and applauded the snake charmers, coal-walkers, and fire-eaters.’
    • ‘Jewellery (including metal tubes covering an entire arm) was tailored directly into the clothes for the show, creating an impressive spectacle.’
    display, show, performance, presentation, exhibition, pageant, parade, extravaganza
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An event or scene regarded in terms of its visual impact.
      ‘the spectacle of a city's mass grief’
      • ‘Several days later at the gates of Peel the villagers gathered silently to view the gruesome spectacle stuck upon a pike.’
      • ‘They presented a frightening spectacle when they turned out in the piazza to protest.’
      • ‘So we are presented with the bizarre and bewildering spectacle of American planes dropping explosives and food on Afghanistan at the same time.’
      • ‘The two of them whooped and hollered some more; their wives sighed at the spectacle and regarded each other with love.’
      • ‘But the unseemly scenes provided an entertaining spectacle for those drinking in the evening sun outside the pub.’
      • ‘Townsfolk stood on the side, watching the unusual spectacle but not wanting to get involved.’
      • ‘Across the city people clustered at office windows and gathered on factory roofs to view the spectacle.’
      • ‘Now I had to admit that we watched this spectacle from a safe vantage point behind the baked beans aisle.’
      • ‘If Christiana were not so strict, he probably would have slept on it, gazing at the stars in bliss, though it would have been an odd spectacle to see such a grand man asleep on the bare ground.’
      • ‘Nothing is more distinctive than the chaotic spectacle of Neapolitan street-life.’
      • ‘But soon, the townsfolk began to gather outside of their homes to view the great spectacle that had suddenly appeared in the sky.’
      • ‘A beam of pure white light sliced through the darkness giving sight to the grizzly spectacle before them.’
      • ‘Once there, he was presented with a spectacle that he could hardly believe.’
      • ‘It would be an odd spectacle, for two friends of opposite sex parading through the town on horses with no saddle.’
      • ‘Like a reality TV show with guns, the coverage takes the everyday business of war, normally hidden from public view, and blows it up into a grisly, repulsive spectacle.’
      • ‘Young ones, as soon as they were fully developed, would be shaken out of their nests, a spectacle much commented upon by travellers.’
      • ‘‘It's easier to weigh an elephant than you think,’ was his only comment when I stopped to investigate the unusual spectacle.’

Phrases

  • make a spectacle of oneself

    • Draw attention to oneself by behaving in a ridiculous way in public.

      • ‘He'd have hated making a spectacle of himself like this.’
      • ‘Everyone laughed uproariously at this, no doubt making a spectacle of themselves to the other patrons.’
      • ‘It could be us falling over and making a spectacle of ourselves in public.’
      • ‘Others were drinking too much and making a spectacle of themselves.’
      • ‘There's no need to make a spectacle of yourself in front of company.’
      • ‘He says he is no good without them, as he would only make a spectacle of himself.’
      • ‘She couldn't believe she was making a spectacle of herself like this.’
      • ‘Some of them were making a spectacle of themselves, particularly Rebecca.’
      • ‘I was shy and preferred to not make a spectacle of myself in public places.’
      • ‘I would like to try novel-writing, but I don't think I've got the confidence not to make a spectacle of myself.’
      exhibition, laughing stock, fool, curiosity
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin spectaculum public show from spectare, frequentative of specere to look.

Pronunciation:

spectacle

/ˈspektək(ə)l/