Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Judaism The platform from which services are conducted in a synagogue.
  • noun Eastern Orthodox Church The area of a church in which the altar is located; the sanctuary.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In Greek antiquity, a stage or kind of pulpit on which speakers stood when addressing an assembly.
  • noun In the Gr. Church, the sanctuary or chancel; the inclosed space surrounding the altar.
  • noun An architectural screen (iconostasis) with a curtain (amphithyra) at its doors, or, as was the case especially in early times, a curtain only, separates the bema from the body of the church. On either side of the bema are the para-bemata, called respectively the prothesis and the diaconicon. These regularly communicate with the bema, and in poor churches often have little more than an indication of separation from it. Rubrically they are often counted as part of the bema.
  • noun A step; a rough measure of length employed by the Greeks and Macedonians when stadia were paced off, and not merely estimated by shouting.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Gr. Antiq.) A platform from which speakers addressed an assembly.
  • noun That part of an early Christian church which was reserved for the higher clergy; the inner or eastern part of the chancel.
  • noun Erroneously: A pulpit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A platform from which speakers addressed an assembly.
  • noun Raised area of worship in a synagogue upon which rests the Holy Ark containing Scrolls of Torah.

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

  • noun area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choir; often enclosed by a lattice or railing

Etymologies

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

[Ultimately from Greek bēma, step, platform; see gwā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek βῆμα (bema, "a step")

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "A step; a rough measure of length employed by the Greeks and Macedonians when stadia were paced off, and not merely estimated by shouting."

    -- from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

    July 30, 2015