Etymology
Advertisement
spectator (n.)
1580s, from Latin spectator "viewer, watcher," from past participle stem of spectare "to view, watch" (see spectacle). Spectator sport is attested from 1943. Related: Spectatorial. Fem. form spectatress (1630s) is less classically correct than spectatrix (1610s).
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
spectate (v.)
"to attend (a sporting event, etc.) to watch, not participate," 1929, back-formation from spectator. Related: Spectated; spectating. Related: Spectation.
Related entries & more 
shower (n.2)
"one who shows," Old English sceawere "spectator, watchtower, mirror," agent noun; see show (v.).
Related entries & more 
onlooker (n.)

"spectator, one who observes but does not participate," c. 1600, from on + agent noun from look (v.). Old English had a verb onlocian, but the modern verb onlook (1867) appears to be a back-formation from onlooker.

Related entries & more 
bystander (n.)
"spectator, one who stands near," 1610s, from by + agent noun from stand (v.). They have been innocent at least since 1829. Stander-by is from 1540s.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Deadhead (n.)
by 1974 in sense of "devotee of the rock music band the Grateful Dead;" earlier (with lower-case) "one who rides for free on the railroads" (1866), and "non-paying spectator" (1841).
Related entries & more 
raincheck (n.)

also rain-check, rain check, "ticket given to a spectator at an outdoor event for admission at a later date, or refund, should the event be interrupted by rain," 1884; see rain (n.) + check (n.1). Originally of tickets to rained-out baseball games.

Related entries & more 
background (n.)
"the ground or situation to the rear of what is in front or most engaging of the attention," 1670s, from back (adj.) + ground (n.); original sense was theatrical, later applied to painting ("part of a picture representing what is furthest from the spectator"), 1752. Figurative sense is first attested 1854.
Related entries & more 
edge (v.)
late 13c., "to give an edge to" (implied in past participle egged), from edge (n.). Intransitive meaning "to move edgeways (with the edge toward the spectator), advance slowly" is from 1620s, originally nautical. Meaning "to defeat by a narrow margin" is from 1953. The meaning "urge on, incite" (16c.) often must be a mistake for egg (v.). Related: Edger.
Related entries & more 
fast and loose 
described as "a cheating game played with a stick and a belt or string, so arranged that a spectator would think he could make the latter fast by placing a stick through its intricate folds, whereas the operator could detach it at once." [James O. Halliwell, "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words," 1847]. The figurative sense (1550s) is recorded earlier than the literal (1570s).
Related entries & more