5 Annotations

First Reading

CGS  •  Link

from the discovery via Brian M.


See 6a 1386

[a. OF. spectacle (also mod.F.: see next), = It. spettacolo, Sp. and Pg. espectaculo, or ad. L. spect{amac}culum (poet. -{amac}clum), f. spect{amac}re to look. Hence also G., Da., Sw. spektakel.]

spectacle, n.1
I. 1. a. A specially prepared or arranged display of a more or less public nature (esp. one on a large scale), forming an impressive or interesting show or entertainment for those viewing it.

3 b. The sight or view of something.
1625 in Foster Eng. Factories Ind. (1909) III. 56 Whole rabbles of people, whose revengefull eyes never glutted themselves to behould the spectacle of our mizeries.

II. 5. a. A means of seeing; something made of glass; a window or mirror. Obs.

c1430 LYDG. London Lackpenny Min. Poems (Percy Soc.) 105 What will you copen or by? Fyne felt hattes, or spectacles to reede?
c1500 Blowbol's Test. 101 in Hazl. E.P.P. I. 96 No man may his letters know nor se, Allethough he looke trughe spectacles thre.

. 1548 ELYOT, Specularius, he that maketh glasse windowes or spectacles, a glasiar. 1576 FLEMING Panopl. Epist. 49 Should I set before your eyes, as it were a spectacle or looking glasse, men of great noblenesse and passing fame? 1630 R. Johnson's Kingd. & Commw. 130 The first is Temperance, with a Diall and Spectacle.

6. a. A device for assisting defective eyesight, or for protecting the eyes from dust, light, etc., consisting of two glass lenses set in a frame which is supported on the nose, and kept in place by side-pieces passing over the ears. Usually in pl.
sing. c1386 [see c]. 1415 HOCCLEVE To Sir J. Oldcastle 417 Right as a spectacle helpith feeble sighte, Whan a man on the book redith or writ.
1447 O. BOKENHAM Seyntys (Roxb.) 27 Myn eyne bleynte Shuld be, ner helpe of a spectacle.
1589 PUTTENHAM Eng. Poesie III. xxv. (Arb.) 311 There be artes and methodes..by which the naturall is in some sorte relieued, as th'eye by his spectacle.
1628 DONNE Sermons 289, I thank him..that assists me with a Spectacle when my sight grows old.
c1640 J. SMYTH Lives of Berkeleys (1883) II. 408 Reading much, yet never used spectacle or other help.
1617 MORYSON Itin. III. 56 And because they cast up sand upon the passengers, some curious men use spectacles of glasse to preserve their eyes.
1656 RIDGLEY Pract. Physick 129 Use of Spectacles weakneth the sight, unlesse you wear them for need.
1728 PEMBERTON Newton's Philos. 383 Hence may be understood why spectacles made with convex glasses help the sight in old age.

b. In phr. a pair of spectacles. Also without of.
1423 Test. Ebor. (Surtees) III. 75 De xxs receptis pro pare de spectakeles de argento et deaurato.

d. A device for restricting the view of horses.
In both passages a rendering of It. occhiali.
1632 J. HAYWARD tr. Biondi's Eromena 3 The horse with his spetacles and covering.
1656 EARL OF MONMOUTH tr. Boccalini's Pol. Touchstone in Advts. fr. Parnass. 395 The jealous Spaniards keep..a caveson upon his nose, a bit in his mouth, a spectacle on his eyes, as if they were afraid of him.
1463 Bury Wills (Camden) 15 A peyre spectaclys of syluir and ouyr gylt.

spectacled, a.
1. Provided with or wearing spectacles.
1607 SHAKES. Cor. II. i. 221 All tongues speake of him, and the bleared sights Are spectacled to see him.


1. A lens of a pair of spectacles.
a1583 in Halliwell Rara Mathem. (1841) 40 For makinge of the smallest sorte of them, commonly called spectacle glasses

2. A lens used as, or in, a microscope or telescope. Obs.
1671 GREW Anat. Pl. I. i. (1682) 2 Magnified with a good Spectacle-Glass. Ibid. 20 A lesser sort, which by the help only of a good Spectacle Glass may be observ'd.


1. One who makes spectacles.
1530 PALSGR. 274/1 Spectacle maker, lunettier. 1611 COTGR., Besiclier, a Spectacle-maker.

1674 BOYLE Excell. Theol. I. iv. 168 Des-Cartes does acknowledge with other writers, that perspective-glasses were..first found out..casually by one Metius, a Dutch spectacle-maker.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link


Glasses, also known as eyeglasses or spectacles, are devices consisting of lenses mounted in a frame that holds them in front of a person's eyes. Glasses are typically used for vision correction.

The use of a convex lens to form an enlarged/magnified image is discussed in Alhazen's Book of Optics (1021). Its translation into Latin from Arabic in the 12th century was instrumental to the invention of eyeglasses in 13th century Italy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gla…

By the 17th century, glasses had come to assume a recognizable shape as in the portrait of cardinal Fernando Niño de Guevara by El Greco circa 1600 shows glasses with temples passing over and beyond the ears

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Society at large would become demoralized by the use of spectacles; they would give one man an unfair advantage over his fellows, and every man an unfair advantage over every woman, who could not be expected, on æsthetic and intellectual grounds, to adopt the practice." -- Robert Crosse (1605-1683) Puritan divine

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Eat your heart out, Pepys:

For auction at Sotheby's:
'The jewel-encrusted spectacles, which feature lenses made from diamond and emerald rather than glass, are believed to have originally belonged to 17th century royals in the Mughal Empire, which once ruled over the Indian subcontinent.

'Designed to help the wearer reach enlightenment and ward off evil, the diamond and emerald spectacles are an exceptionally rare example of Mughal jewelry craftsmanship, according to chairman of Sotheby's Middle East and India, Edward Gibbs. "As far as we know, there are no others like them," he said in a phone interview.'


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.