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

  • n. A usually curved outdoor bench with a high back.
  • n. An often semicircular portico with seats that was used in ancient Greece and Rome as a place for discussions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A semicircular recess, with stone benches, used as a place for discussion.
  • n. A curved bench with a high back.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A room in a public building, furnished with seats.
  • n.
  • n. The projection of any part of a building in a rounded form.
  • n. Any out-of-door seat in stone, large enough for several persons; esp., one of curved form.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In ancient architecture, a raised platform with steps, in the open air, often by a roadside or in some other public place, provided with seats for the purpose of repose and conversation.


Latin, from Greek : ex-, ex- + hedrā, seat.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἐξ (ex, "out of") + ἕδρα (hedra, "seat"). (Wiktionary)



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  • In this Muslim world, this would be called a mihrab, or prayer niche.

    December 22, 2007