Definitions

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

  • n. A dais, pulpit, or other elevated platform for public speaking.
  • n. The curved, beaklike prow of an ancient Roman ship, especially a war galley.
  • n. The speaker's platform in an ancient Roman forum, which was decorated with the prows of captured enemy ships.
  • n. Biology A beaklike or snoutlike projection.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dais, pulpit, or similar platform for a speaker, conductor or other performer.
  • n. A platform for a film or television camera.
  • n. The projecting prow of a rowed warship, such as a trireme.
  • n. The beak shaped projection on the head of insects such as weevils.
  • n. The snout of a dolphin

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The beak or head of a ship.
  • n. The Beaks; the stage or platform in the forum where orations, pleadings, funeral harangues, etc., were delivered; -- so called because after the Latin war, it was adorned with the beaks of captured vessels; later, applied also to other platforms erected in Rome for the use of public orators.
  • n. Hence, a stage for public speaking; the pulpit or platform occupied by an orator or public speaker.
  • n.
  • n. Any beaklike prolongation, esp. of the head of an animal, as the beak of birds.
  • n. The beak, or sucking mouth parts, of Hemiptera.
  • n. The snout of a gastropod mollusk. See Illust. of Littorina.
  • n. The anterior, often spinelike, prolongation of the carapace of a crustacean, as in the lobster and the prawn.
  • n. Same as Rostellum.
  • n. The pipe to convey the distilling liquor into its receiver in the common alembic.
  • n. A pair of forceps of various kinds, having a beaklike form.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The beak or bill of a bird.
  • n. The snout, muzzle, or sometimes the face of an animal, especially when protrusive.
  • n. In anatomy and zoology, any beaked or rostrate part, or part likened to a beak.
  • n. The beak of a ship: an ancient form of ram, consisting of a beam to which were attached heavy pointed irons, fixed to the bows, sometimes just above and sometimes below the water-line, and used for the purpose of sinking other vessels. See cut under rostral.
  • n. plural A platform or elevated place in the Roman forum, whence orations, pleadings, funeral harangues, etc., were delivered: so called because it was adorned with the rostra or beaks of the ships taken in the first naval victory gained by the republic.
  • n. Hence A pulpit or any platform or elevated spot from which a speaker addresses his audience. See cut under pulpit.
  • n. In botany, an elongated receptacle with the styles adhering: also applied generally to any rigid process of remarkable length, or to any additional process at the end of any of the parts of a plant.
  • n. A trestle used in supporting platforms in a theater.
  • n. In an ancient lamp, the beak or projection in which the wick lies.
  • n. In distilling, that part of the still which connects the head with the worm and forms a passage for vapor from the head to the worm; the beak.

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

  • n. beaklike projection of the anterior part of the head of certain insects such as e.g. weevils
  • n. a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it

Etymologies

Latin rōstrum, beak; see rēd- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin rōstrum, from rōdō ("gnaw"). 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. (Wiktionary)

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