Spec"ta*cle (?), n. [F., fr. L. spectaculum, fr. spectare to look at, to behold, v. intens. fr. specere. See Spy.] 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!

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 bright light.

4. pl. Fig.: An aid to the intellectual sight.

Shakespeare . . . needed not the spectacles of books to read nature.

Syn. -- Show; sight; exhibition; representation; pageant.