Etymology
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Words related to *spek-

especial (adj.)

late 14c., from Old French especial "pre-eminent, important," from Latin specialis "belonging to a particular kind or species," from species "kind" (see species). Latin words with initial sp-, st-, sc- usually acquired an e- in Old French (see e-). Modern French has restored the word to spécial. In English, originally with the same sense as special (adj.), later restricted to feelings, qualities, etc.

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espionage (n.)

1793, from French espionnage "spying," from espionner "to spy," from espion "a spy" (16c.), probably via Old Italian spione from a Germanic source akin to Old High German spehon "to spy" (see spy (v.)). For initial e- see e-. Middle English had espiouress "female spy" (early 15c.).

espy (v.)

early 13c., aspy, from Old French espiier "observe, watch closely, spy on; guard, keep in custody" (12c., Modern French épier), from Vulgar Latin *spiare, from a Germanic source (compare Old High German spehon "to spy;" see spy (v.)). For initial e-, see e-. Related: Espied; espial.

expect (v.)

1550s, "wait, defer action," from Latin expectare/exspectare "await, look out for; desire, hope, long for, anticipate; look for with anticipation," from ex- "thoroughly" (see ex-) + spectare "to look," frequentative of specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").

The figurative sense of "anticipate, look forward to" developed in Latin and is attested in English from c. 1600. Also from c. 1600 as "regard as about to happen." Meaning "count upon (to do something), trust or rely on" is from 1630s. Used since 1817 as a euphemism for "be pregnant." In the sense "suppose, reckon, suspect," it is attested from 1640s but was regarded as a New England provincialism. Related: Expected; expecting.

frontispiece (n.)

1590s, "decorated entrance of a building," from French frontispice (16c.), which is probably from Italian frontespizio and Medieval Latin frontispicium "facade," originally "a view of the forehead, judgment of character through facial features," from Latin frons (genitive frontis) "forehead" (see front (n.)) + specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Sense of "illustration facing a book's title page" first recorded 1680s. The English spelling alteration apparently is from confusion with unrelated piece (n.).

gyroscope (n.)

heavy rotating wheel with an axis free to turn in any direction, 1853, improved and named in French 1852 by Foucault, from Greek gyros "a circle" (see gyre (n.)) + skopos "watcher" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"), because the device demonstrates that the earth rotates.

haruspex (n.)

1580s, from Latin haruspex (plural haruspices) "soothsayer by means of entrails," first element from PIE root *ghere- "gut, entrail;" second element from Latin spic- "beholding, inspecting," from PIE *speks "he who sees," from root *spek- "to observe." The practice is Etruscan. Related: Haruspical; haruspication.

horoscope (n.)

"observation or diagram of the heavens, showing the positions of planets, on any given day, used by astrologers," mid-16c., from French horoscope, from Latin horoscopum/horoscopus, from Greek hōroskopos "nativity, horoscope," also "one who casts a horoscope, one who observes the hour of a birth," from hōra "hour; season; period of time" (see hour) + skopos "watcher; what is watched" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").

The notion is of "observing the hour" (of someone's birth, etc.). The word was in late Old English and Middle English as horoscopum, from Latin, but the modern form is considered to be a reborrowing. Old English glossed Latin horoscopus with tidsceawere ("time-shower"). Related: Horoscopic; horiscopal. Horoscopy "the casting of a nativity" is attested from 1650s, from Latin horoscopium, from Greek hōroskopeion, from hōroskopia.

inspect (v.)

1620s, from Latin inspectus, past participle of inspicere "look at, observe, view; look into, inspect, examine," from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + specere "to look" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Related: Inspected; inspecting.

inspection (n.)

late 14c., from Old French inspeccion "inspection, examination" (13c., Modern French inspection), from Latin inspectionem (nominative inspectio) "a looking into," noun of action from past participle stem of inspicere "look at, observe, view; look into, inspect, examine," from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + specere "to look" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Old English used onbesceawung as a loan-translation of Latin inspectio. Related: Inspectional.

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