Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A raised platform, as in a lecture hall, for speakers or honored guests.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A raised platform in a room for dignified occupancy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The high or principal table, at the end of a hall, at which the chief guests were seated; also, the chief seat at the high table.
  • n. A platform slightly raised above the floor of a hall or large room, giving distinction to the table and seats placed upon it for the chief guests.
  • n. A canopy over the seat of a person of dignity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A platform or raised floor at one end or one side of a reception-room or hall, upon which seats for distinguished persons are placed; especially, such a platform covered with a canopy: formerly often called specifically high dais.
  • n. Hence Any similar raised portion of the floor of an apartment, used as the place at which the most distinguished guests at a feast are seated, as a platform for a lecturer, etc.
  • n. A canopy or covering.
  • n. A long board, seat, or settle erected against a wall, and sometimes so constructed as to serve for both a settee and a table; also, a seat on the outer side of a country-house or cottage, frequently formed of turf.
  • n. A pew in a church.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it

Etymologies

Middle English deis, from Anglo-Norman, platform, from Late Latin discus, table, from Latin, discus, quoit; see disk.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English deis < Anglo-Norman (Old French deis, dois) < Latin discus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Â Do you think the placement of this dais is a coincidence?

    Think Progress » ‘Mission Accomplished’ By The Numbers

  • KT -- the online version itself omitted my own inclusion among the ranks of dragon ladies, so the dais is going to be positively aflame!

    Blow THIS.

  • Many kicho were arranged along the east side of the Queen's dais from the inner room to the veranda.

    Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

  • The dais is covered with prayer-rugs, and contains the holy niche and the pulpit of the preacher.

    A Thousand Miles Up the Nile

  • A painted stone pathway surrounds that part of the stage, and there are even a couple of patches of grass to suggest the garden, but the centerpiece of the set, which stretches from the courtyard up onto the office dais, is what looks like a mosaic floor such as you might find in a very old church, with the impassive visage of a saint of some kind, face partially eaten away by missing tiles, staring blankly up at heaven.

    My review of Globe Theatre’s production of Doubt, A Parable

  • Seated on a chair in the center of the dais was a long, humanoid figure clad in red and white and wearing a veil that completely obscured his or her features.

    LEGENDS OF THE DRAGONREALM

  • BASH (voice-over): Arlen Specter didn't show up for this Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, but his empty seat at the very end of the dais is a stark illustration of his new junior ranking since Democrats stripped his seniority on all committees.

    CNN Transcript May 6, 2009

  • On the dais was a rollcall of Washington power: the president, the secretary of Defense, the civilian and military leaders of America's armed forces, sundry spouses.

    Problems At The Pentagon

  • And there on the dais was a table dight with dainty meats and drinks, and the lady bade us thereto, and we sat to it.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • There are small trenches running from the center of the rounded dais to the edge, running around the bottom of the dais is a gutterabout a foot deep with a large trench running away from it.

    Christiane Amanpour's "God's Warriors"

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Comments

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  • In castles, a raised platform for the high table, at the end of the upper hall.

    I had a job once at which people had occasion to use this term frequently, and they always pronounced it "dye-ess." Drove me batshit.

    August 25, 2008