nounpl. -·la or -·lums
- a mirror, esp. one of polished metal
- Historical such a mirror in a reflecting telescope
- Med. an instrument for dilating a passage or cavity to facilitate its examination
- Ornithology a distinctive patch of color on the wings of certain birds, esp. ducks
Origin of speculumL, a mirror from specere, to look: see spy
nounpl. spec·u·la, or spec·u·lums
- A mirror or polished metal plate used as a reflector in optical instruments.
- An instrument for dilating the opening of a body cavity for medical examination.
- Zoology a. A bright, often iridescent patch of color on the wings of certain birds, especially ducks.b. A transparent spot in the wings of some butterflies or moths.
Origin of speculumMiddle English surgical speculum from Latin mirror from specere to look at ; see spek- in Indo-European roots.
(plural speculums or specula)
From Latin speculum (“mirror"), diminutive form from root spec-, to look at + diminutive suffix -ulum.