Difference Between Audience and Spectator

Main Difference – Audience vs Spectator

You may have noticed how the two words Audience and Spectator are often used to describe the people who have gathered to watch and listen to certain events and performances. But, have you ever wondered about the difference between audience and spectator? The main difference between audience and spectator is that audience is mainly used to refer to people at plays, films, concerts, or meetings whereas spectator is mainly used to refer to people who watch a show, game, or a similar event.

This article looks at,

1. What Does Audience Mean? – Meaning, Origins and Usage

2. What Does Spectator Mean? – Meaning, Origins and Usage

3. What is the Difference Between Audience and Spectator
Difference Between Audience and Spectator - Audience vs Spectator Comparison Summary

What Does Audience Mean

The noun audience comes from the Latin word audire meaning ‘hear’. However, the meaning of the noun audience is not only limited to listeners. Audience refers to assembled spectators or listeners at a public event such as a play, film, concert, or meeting. Thus, audience refers to people who have come to watch and listen to an event.

Audience is usually used to refer to people at a cinema hall, performance, or meeting. The people who watch a TV program or listen to a program on the radio is also known as the audience. In addition, audience can also refer to the readers of a certain book, magazine or newspaper. Here are some examples.

The audience started cheering during the final battle between the hero and the villain.

He directed questions at the members of the audience.

The audience clapped and cheered.

This newspaper has a large audience.

The term audience can also refer to a formal meeting with a person in authority. (e.g., an audience with the king, an audience with the pope)  

Difference Between Audience and Spectator

What Does Spectator Mean

The term spectator comes from Latin spectare meaning ‘gaze at’, or ‘observe.’ Thus, spectator refers to ones who look on or watch something. The noun spectator is usually used to refer to a person who watches a show, game, or another event. The plural form of spectator is spectators.

The term spectator is often used to talk about people who go to watch sports events such as a football game, car race or a cricket match. The following examples will demonstrate how this word is used general parlance. Look at the following examples given below to understand the usage clearly.

The spectators started cheering wildly.

Two thousand spectators saw him fall to the ground.

He accepted the trophy amidst the loud cheers of the spectators.

More than ten thousand have gathered to see his final match.

Main Difference - Audience vs Spectator

Difference Between Audience and Spectator

Origins

Audience comes from Latin audire meaning ‘hear’.

Spectator comes from Latin spectare meaning ‘gaze at’, or ‘observe’.

Usage

Audience refers to people who are gathered at a public event such as a play, film, concert, or meeting.

Spectator refers to people who watch a show, game, or another event.

TV or Radio program

Audience can refer to people who watch or listen to a television or radio program.

Spectator cannot be used to refer to people who watch or listen to a television or radio program.

Sports Event

Audience is not generally used to refer to people who are at a sports event.

Spectator can refer to people who are at a sports event.

Performances

Audience refers to people gathered at a meeting, performance, concert, etc.

Spectator is not used to refer to people gathered at a meeting, performance, concert, etc.

Readers

Audience can sometimes refer to readers of a newspaper, magazine, etc.

Spectator does not refer to readers of newspapers and such other.

Image Courtesy:

“Spectators watching Brazil national football team train at Dobsonville Stadium 2010-06-03 3” By Marcello Casal Jr/ABr – ABr, (CC BY 3.0 br) via Commons Wikimedia

“Audience – Stallman’s pre-Wikimania 2009 talk – Wikimania 2009” By Wikimania2009 Beatrice Murch – originally posted to Flickr as Audience (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.