looking at specto / by Anthony Gibbins

In celebration of Pico’s watching, let’s take a closer look at the Verb specto. specto has a broad meaning, that requires it to be understood in numerous ways; (I look at carefully, contemplate, observe, watch, look on, examine, bear in mind, have a regard to, am inclined toward, face and consider critically). The full Dictionary Form is specto, spectare, spectavi, spectatum.

There are a number of Compound Verbs, formed by adding prefixes to specto or to its close cousin specio. Here are a few, along with a meaning; aspicio (I behold), conspicio (I catch sigh of), despicio (I look down on, despise), exspecto (I wait for), inspicio (I look into), perspicio (I see through), prospicio (I exercise foresight), respicio (I look back), suspicio (I mistrust).

There are some closely related Nouns too. As is common in Latin, by replacing the –um of the Supine with –or we get the person who performs the act. Therefore, spectatum becomes spectator ‘a person who watches’. There is even a specifically Female Form, spectatrix. Then there is spectaculum (a show – think gladiators and chariot races), and we have already seen speculum in the barber store (a mirror). There is species (appearance), suspicio (suspicion), aspectus (a sight), conspectus (a view) and auspicium (divination by means of birds). spectio is the right of certain magistrates to observe the observing of birds, while being done for the purpose of divination. Jackpot!

Finally, here are some Adjectives; spectatus (approved), perspicuus (transparent), speciosus (beautiful or showy), specialis (particular in appearance) and spectabilis (worth seeing).

Alan carries the sack full of hair to the rubbish bin and throws it in the bin. Pico watches him doing it.