Borrowed from Latin rōstrum (“beak, snout”), from rōd(ō) (“gnaw”) + -trum, from Proto-Indo-European *reh₁d- + *-trom. The pulpit sense is a back-formation from the name of the Roman Rōstra, the platforms in the Forum where politicians made speeches. The Rōstra were decorated with (and named for) the beaks (prows) of ships from naval victories.
rostrum (plural rostra or rostrums)
- A dais, pulpit, or similar platform for a speaker, conductor, or other performer.
- Synonyms: dais, pulpit
1922, Sinclair Lewis, chapter 27, in Babbitt:
He saw a crowd listening to a man who was talking from the rostrum of a kitchen-chair.
- A platform for a film or television camera.
- The projecting prow of a rowed warship, such as a trireme.
- (zoology) The beak.
- (zoology) The beak-shaped projection on the head of insects such as weevils.
- (zoology) The snout of a dolphin.
- (anatomy) The oral or nasal region of a human used for anatomical location (i.e. rostral)
dais, pulpit, or similar platform
platform for a film or television camera
projecting prow of a rowed warship
beak-shaped projection on the head of some insects
zoology: snout of a dolphin
anatomy: oral or nasal region of a human
From rōd(ō) (“to gnaw”) + -trum, from Proto-Indo-European *reh₁d- + *-trom. Originally a bird's beak or animal's snout, but later extended to objects with a similar shape.
rōstrum n (genitive rōstrī); second declension
- bill or beak of a bird
- snout or muzzle of an animal
- (nautical) prow of a ship
- a stage or platform for speaking in the forum
- rostrum in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- rostrum in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
- rostrum in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
- rostrum in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
- Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book, London: Macmillan and Co.
- to mount the rostra: in contionem (in rostra) escendere (only of Romans)
- to charge, ram a boat: navem rostro percutere
- rostrum in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
- rostrum in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin