late 14c., an astrological term, "relative position of the planets as they appear from earth" (i.e., how they "look at" one another); also "one of the ways of viewing something," from Latin aspectus "a seeing, looking at, sight, view; countenance; appearance," from past participle of aspicere "to look at, look upon, behold; observe, examine," figuratively "consider, ponder," from ad "to" (see ad-) + specere "to look" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").
The meanings "the look one wears" and "the appearance of things" are attested by early 15c. The sense of "a facing in a given direction" is from 1660s.
updated on September 26, 2022
Dictionary entries near aspect