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From Latin speculātor (spy, explorer, investigator), from speculor (to watch, to observe) +‎ -tor (-er: forming agent nouns), from specula (watchtower), from speciō (to watch, to observe), q.v. In some senses, an agent noun formed within English from speculate. Doublet of spectator.


speculator (plural speculators)

  1. One who speculates; an observer; a contemplator.
    • c. 1683, Thomas Browne, Certain Miscellany Tracts
      a bold and paradoxical speculator
  2. One who forms theories; a theorist.
    • 1666, Joseph Glanvill, Philosophical Considerations concerning Witches and Witchcraft:
      [] in things of Fact, the People are as much to be believed, as the most subtle Philosophers and Speculators, since here sense is the Judge.
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second:
      For, in the earlier part of the seventeenth century, a speculator who had dared to affirm that the human soul is by its nature mortal, and does, in the great majority of cases, actually die with the body, would have been burned alive in Smithfield.
  3. (business, finance) One who speculates; as in investing, one who is willing to take volatile risks upon invested principal for the potential of substantial returns.
  4. (rugby) Synonym of field goal

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From speculor (to watch, to observe) +‎ -tor (-er: forming agent nouns), from specula (watchtower), from speciō (to watch, to observe). Doublet of spectator.



speculātor m (genitive speculātōris, feminine speculātrīx); third declension

  1. spy, scout
    1. a particular scout of the Imperial legion’s commander or of a province’s governor also competent to carry out executions
  2. explorer, investigator


Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative speculātor speculātōrēs
Genitive speculātōris speculātōrum
Dative speculātōrī speculātōribus
Accusative speculātōrem speculātōrēs
Ablative speculātōre speculātōribus
Vocative speculātor speculātōrēs




  1. second/third-person singular future active imperative of speculor


  • speculator”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • speculator”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • speculator in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • speculator in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • speculator”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers



Borrowed from French spéculateur. Equivalent to specula +‎ -tor.


speculator m (uncountable)

  1. speculator