spectator

spectator
spectator, observer, beholder, looker-on, onlooker, witness, eyewitness, bystander, kibitzer are comparable when they mean one who sees or looks upon something.
Spectator can be used precisely in place of auditor for one that attends an exhibition, performance, or entertainment which does not involve an appeal to the sense of hearing; thus, one tends to speak of the spectators at a football game, a prizefight, a pageant, a pantomime, or a circus but of the auditors or the audience at a concert, a lecture, or a play. Very often, however, the term is used more broadly to denote one who regards himself or is felt to be wholly apart from and in no manner identified with what is presented to his attention (as by his sight, hearing, or understanding)
{

it is only the spectator of morals who can assume the calm aesthetic attitude— Ellis

}
{

the narrator ... is a sensitive young artist, nominally a Communist, actually a spectator of history, a camera not much involved in life— Ludwig

}
Observer may or may not imply an intent to see, but it usually does suggest, whether one sees by intention or by accident, that one attends closely to details and often keeps a record of them; the term applies especially to those (as scientists) who gather evidence by carefully noting phenomena or the results of experiments or to military or diplomatic officials who are sent by countries not participating in a war or in a meeting of representatives from other nations to watch proceedings closely and to make a report of them; it is also applicable to whoever has formed similar habits and can be more or less relied upon for accuracy
{

it is the man of science who speaks, the unprejudiced observer, the accepter of facts— Huxley

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{

an observer for the United States at assemblies of the United Nations

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{

you go about a lot amongst all sorts of people. You are a tolerably honest observerConrad

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{

I had once been a cool observer because some part of me knew that I had more emotion than most and so must protect myself with a cold eye— Mailer

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Beholder sometimes carries a stronger implication of watching or regarding intently than either of the preceding terms, but it may mean little more than one who sees
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all the beholders take his part with weeping— Shak.

}
The term is often applicable to one who has been privileged to look intently upon or, sometimes, consider deeply a person or thing with the result that he obtains a clear and accurate impression of that person or thing and is moved by the qualities (as beauty, power, tenderness, or pathos) of what is seen
{

to what extent is beauty subjective, existing only in the mind of the beholderHunter Mead

}
{

what the beholder must realize as he looks and ponders is that history is not something in books— Duffus

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Looker-on and onlooker differ from beholder chiefly in their suggestions of casualness or detachment and in their definite implication of lack of participation
{

there was a great crowd of lookers-on at the fire

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{

the surgeon refused to operate in the presence of onlookers

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Either term is sometimes used in place of spectator when the distinction between the one who sees and what he sees is stressed
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the onlookers, not the participants, see most of the game

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{

lookers-on often see what familiarity obscures for the participants— Moberly

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{

they dropped, panting, while the onlookers repeated that it was a shame and somebody ought to stop them— Davis

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Witness specifically denotes one who has firsthand knowledge and therefore is competent to give testimony
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no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act— U. S. Constitution

}
The term sometimes applies to a person who knows because he has seen
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standing there, I was witness of a little incident that seemed to escape the rest— Quiller-Couch

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but since witness does not necessarily imply seeing, eyewitness is often preferred as more explicitly implying actual sight
{

there were no eyewitnesses of the collision

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Uncontrovertible evidence, with occasional corroboration from the eyewitness accounts of the few survivors— Shirer}
Bystander primarily denotes one who stands by when something is happening; sometimes it carries the implication of onlooker
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the policeman took the names of all the bystanders

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{

men have been haunted recurrently by the question "Am I my brother's keeper?". . . It is what makes being a bystander more and more impossible— Rothman

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but at other times it suggests little more than presence at a place
{

difficult for each member of the society really to participate .... He begins to be an onlooker at most of it, then a bystander, and may end up with indifference to the welfare of his society— Kroeber

}
{

a bystander was injured by the explosion

}
Kibitzer specifically applies to one who watches a card game by looking over the shoulders of the players and who may annoy them by offering advice; in extended use the word denotes an onlooker who meddles or makes unwelcome suggestions.

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spectator — defined as n. An observer of an event or person who looks on or watches; onlooker; observer. The Spectator is the name of several publications.*The Spectator (1711), which is the one most often meant in historical contexts, a British publication… …   Wikipedia

  • spectator — SPECTATÓR, OÁRE, spectatori, oare, s. m. şi f. Persoană care asistă la un spectacol artistic sau la o competiţie sportivă. ♦ Persoană martoră la o întâmplare, la un eveniment. – fr. spectateur (lat. lit. spectator). Trimis de pan111, 15.07.2004.… …   Dicționar Român

  • spectator — (n.) 1580s, from L. spectator viewer, watcher, from pp. stem of spectare to view, watch (see SPECTACLE (Cf. spectacle)). Spectator sport is attested from 1943 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Spectator — Spec*ta tor, n. [L. spectator: cf. F. spectateur. See {Spectacle}.] One who on; one who sees or beholds; a beholder; one who is personally present at, and sees, any exhibition; as, the spectators at a show. Devised and played to take spectators.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spectator — Spectator, The a magazine which contains articles about politics, important events, and the arts. There are separate British and US magazines called The Spectator. The magazine was started in the UK in 1711, by Joseph Addison and Sir Richard… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Spectātor — Spectātor, 1) (lat.), Zuschauer in öffentlichen Spielen (s.d.); 2) (engl., spr. Specteter), der Titel einer englischen Zeitung …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Spectātor — (lat., »Zuschauer«), 1) (engl., spr. ßpecktēter) Titel einer berühmten, von Addison (s. d.) herausgegebenen englischen Wochenschrift; vgl. Moralische Wochenschriften. – 2) Pseudonym von F. X. Kraus (s. d. 3) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • spectator — index bystander, eyewitness Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Spectator —   [spek teɪtə; englisch »Zuschauer«], 1828 von dem schottischen Journalisten Robert Stephen Rintoul (* 1787, ✝ 1858) gegründete britische Wochenschrift der Liberalradikalen, die u. a. von John Sankt Leo Strachey (* 1860, ✝ 1927) herausgegeben… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • spectator — is spelt or, not er …   Modern English usage

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