Words related to *spek-

retrospect (n.)

c. 1600, "a regard or reference" (to something), from Latin retrospectum, past participle of retrospicere "look back," from retro "back" (see retro-) + specere "look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Meaning "survey of past events" is from 1660s.

scope (n.1)

[extent] 1530s, "room to act, free play," also literal (1550s), "room to move in, space;" from Italian scopo "aim, purpose, object; thing aimed at, mark, target," from Latin scopus, from Greek skopos "aim, target, object of attention;" also "watcher, one who watches," which according to Watkins is from a metathesized form of PIE *spek-yo-, suffixed form of root *spek- "to observe." Beekes writes that the the old IE root noun (as in Latin haruspex) from *spek- apparently was replaced in Greek by skopos

It is attested from 1550s as "that which is aimed at or desired," hence "ultimate aim;" the classical sense of "a mark to aim or shoot at" was in English by 1560s but now is obsolete. Hence "object a speaker or writer has in view" (1530s). The sense of "intellectual range, distance the mind can reach" is recorded from c. 1600. By 1590s as "extent in space." By 1830 as "sphere in which some activity operates." Elizabethan scopious "spacious, wide" did not stick.


word-forming element indicating "an instrument for seeing," from Late Latin -scopium, from Greek -skopion, from skopein "to look at, examine" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").

scopophilia (n.)

"voyeurism, sexual urge or satisfaction chiefly from looking and seeing," 1924 (in a translation of Freud), from a word-forming element made from a Latinized form of Greek -skopia "observation" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe") + -philia. In early use often scoptophilia through a mistake by Freud's translators. The corrected form is by 1937. Related: Scopophiliac; scopophile.


word-forming element meaning "viewing, examining, observing," from Modern Latin -scopium, from Greek -skopion, from skopein "to look at, examine" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").

skeptic (n.)

also sceptic, 1580s, "member of an ancient Greek school that doubted the possibility of real knowledge," from French sceptique and directly from Latin scepticus "the sect of the Skeptics," from Greek skeptikos (plural Skeptikoi "the Skeptics, followers of Pyrrho"), noun use of adjective meaning "inquiring, reflective." This is related to skeptesthai "to reflect, look, view" (from a metathesized form of PIE root *spek- "to observe"). The name was taken by the disciples of Greek philosopher Pyrrho, who lived c. 360-c. 270 B.C.E.

The extended sense of "one with a doubting attitude, one who suspends judgment and holds that the known facts do not warrant a conclusion" is recorded by 1610s. It is attested by 1630s as "one who doubts or disbelieves the Christian religion," short of absolutely denying it. The sk- spelling is an early 17c. Greek revival and is preferred in U.S.

Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found. [Miguel de Unamuno, "Essays and Soliloquies," 1924]

 The adjective in the sense of "skeptical" is attested from 1570s. As a verb, scepticize (1690s) failed to catch on.

species (n.)

late 14c., in logic, "a class of individuals or things," from Latin species "a particular sort, kind, or type" (opposed to genus), originally "a sight, look, view; outward appearance, shape, form," a derivative of specere "to look at, to see, behold" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). In English it is attested from 1550s as "appearance, outward form."

Latin species "a sight; outward appearance" had many extended senses, including "a spectacle; a mental appearance, an idea or notion;" also "semblance, pretext; manner, fashion; display, beauty; a likeness or statue; reputation, honor." Typically it was used in passive senses. Also compare spice (n.).

In Late Latin, in logic and legal language, it acquired the meaning "a special case," especially (as a translation of Greek eidos) "a class included under a higher class; a kind; a sort; a number of individuals having common characteristics peculiar to them." The notion (as Lewis & Short puts it) is "The particular thing among many to which the looks are turned."

The English word is attested from 1560s as "a distinct class (of something) based on common characteristics." The specific use in biological sciences in reference to groups of living things recognizably distinct from all others by their inherited characteristics is from c. 1600. Endangered species is attested by 1964.

specimen (n.)

1610s, "pattern, model," from Latin specimen "indication, mark, example, sign, evidence; that by which a thing is known, means of knowing," from specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Meaning "single thing regarded as typical of its kind" first recorded 1650s. Compare species.

specious (adj.)

late 14c., "pleasing to the sight, fair," from Latin speciosus "good-looking, beautiful, fair," also "showy, pretended, plausible, specious," from species "appearance, form, figure, beauty" (see species). Meaning "seemingly desirable, reasonable or probable, but not really so; superficially fair, just, or correct" in English is first recorded 1610s. Related: Speciously; speciosity; speciousness.

Specious is superficially fair, just, or correct, appearing well at first view but easily proved unsound. Plausible is applied to that which pleases the ear or the superficial judgment, but will not bear severe examination. [Century Dictionary, 1895] 
spectacle (n.)

mid-14c., "specially prepared or arranged display," from Old French spectacle "sight, spectacle, Roman games" (13c.), from Latin spectaculum "a public show, spectacle, place from which shows are seen," from spectare "to view, watch, behold," frequentative form of specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").

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