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More Spectacle Semantics

Spectacles Blog Gets Pedantic… and Ponderous…

How Very Singular...

Why is it “Spectacles” (always plural) and then when you put them away, it’s in a spectacle case (singular)? I guess the first part is that there are two of them – the lenses – as scissors and trousers and thus the prefix “a pair” of which goes with all of these.  Fine so far… but why a singular case to put them (not “it”) away???

The root of the word is Latin/French meaning to watch/to see which is why the must-see event is also a “spectacle”.  Similarly we have spectator for a member of the crowd who watches (and an audience strictly speaking, listens).

NB I picked this up on a website to help the Chinese learn English.

If you put your scissors away, would it be in the scissor (or scissors) draw?  Ditto Trousers?

PS If you had a monocle would that be a spectacle?

PPS I must look into these semantics from the angle of the history of spectacles. Maybe there’ll be a clue somewhere in the misty past.  Maybe not…

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