Definitions

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

  • n. The art of public speaking.
  • n. Eloquence or skill in making speeches to the public.
  • n. Public speaking marked by the use of overblown rhetoric.
  • n. A place for prayer, such as a small private chapel.
  • n. A Roman Catholic religious society founded in 1575 by Saint Philip Neri and consisting of secular priests.
  • n. A branch or church of this society.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The art of public speaking, especially in a formal, expressive, or forceful manner.
  • n. Eloquence; the quality of artistry and persuasiveness in speech or writing.
  • n. A private chapel.
  • n. A large Roman Catholic church.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A place of orisons, or prayer; especially, a chapel or small room set apart for private devotions.
  • n. The art of an orator; the art of public speaking in an eloquent or effective manner; the exercise of rhetorical skill in oral discourse; eloquence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Oratoric: as, an oratory style.
  • n. The art of an orator; the art of speaking well, or of speaking according to the rules of rhetoric, in order to please or persuade; the art of public speaking. The three principal branches of this art are deliberative, epidictic, and judicial oratory. See epidictic.
  • n. Exercise of eloquence; eloquent language; eloquence: as, all his oratory was spent in vain.
  • n. Prayer; supplication; the act of beseeching or petitioning.
  • n. Pl. oratories (-riz). A place for prayer or worship.

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

  • n. addressing an audience formally (usually a long and rhetorical address and often pompous)

Etymologies

Latin (ars) ōrātōria, (art) of speaking, feminine sing. of ōrātōrius, oratorical, from ōrātor, speaker, from ōrātus, past participle of ōrāre, to speak.
Middle English oratorie, from Old French, from Late Latin ōrātōrium, place of prayer, from Latin, neuter of ōrātōrius, for praying, from ōrāre, to pray.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin ōrātōria, from the feminine of ōrātōrius ("oratorial"). (Wiktionary)
From Anglo-Norman oratorie, Middle French oratoire, and their source, Late Latin ōrātōrium. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • [Page 347] back to us with their honors thick upon them; I remember one who returned with the prize in oratory from a contest between several western State universities, proudly testifying that he had obtained his confidence in our Henry Clay Club; another came back with a degree from Harvard University saying that he had made up his mind to go there the summer I read Royce's "Aspects of Modern Philosophy" with a group of young men who had challenged my scathing remark that Herbert Spencer was not the only man who had ventured a solution of the riddles of the universe.

    Twenty Years at Hull-House, With Autobiographical Notes

  • Numerous contemporary works on rhetoric underscored the significance of mathematics in oratory training,15 while other ancient and popular texts presented the mathematical-linguistic relationship from a complementary angle.

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • My oratory is so persuasive that I win by a whole 40 votes.

    "Ming's Memoirs" from The Liberal Revue

  • But if we have lost interest in oratory, we have not lost control of language; nor craftsmanship in the moulding and manipulation of meaningful words and phrases.

    The Irish Mind

  • Churchill's mature oratory is swift, unerring in its aim, and moving in its grandeur.

    Nobel Prize in Literature 1953 - Presentation Speech

  • "Come and see our chapel, Claire," said Abby; the word oratory did not yet come trippingly to her tongue.

    Apples, Ripe and Rosy, Sir

  • One day I saw a little chamber she called her oratory; there was no furniture except a prie-dieu and a little altar with a cross and some vases of flowers.

    The French Immortals Series — Complete

  • Thus the old federation of "independent states," all equal in rights and dignity, each wearing the "jewel of sovereignty" so celebrated in Southern oratory, had gone the way of all flesh under the withering blasts of Civil War.

    History of the United States

  • After-dinner oratory is not going to do it, nor the windy harangue of every peripatetic agitator.

    Three Imperial Topics: Imperial Ignorance; Imperial History; Imperial Unity

  • It is said to have been a fault with Cicero that in his speeches he runs too much into that vein of wrathful interrogation which undoubtedly palls upon us in English oratory when frequent resort is made to it.

    The Life of Cicero

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  • in castle architecture, a small private chamber for prayer.

    August 26, 2008