a reading desk in a church on which the Bible rests and from which the lessons are read during the church service.
a stand with a slanted top, used to hold a book, speech, manuscript, etc., at the proper height for a reader or speaker.

1275–1325; earlier lectron(e), late Middle English lectryn < Medieval Latin lēctrīnum, derivative of lēctrum lectern, equivalent to Latin leg(ere) to read + -trum instrumental suffix; replacing Middle English letroun, lettorne < Middle French letrun < Medieval Latin lēctrum, as above

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World English Dictionary
lectern (ˈlɛktən)
1.  a reading desk or support in a church
2.  any similar desk or support
[C14: from Old French lettrun, from Late Latin lectrum, ultimately from legere to read]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

early 14c., lettorne, lettron, from O.Fr. leitrun, from M.L. lectrinum, L.L. lectrum "lectern," from root of L. legere "to read" (see lecture). Half-re-Latinized in 15c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


originally a pedestal-based reading desk with a slanted top used for supporting liturgical books-such as Bibles, missals, and breviaries at religious services; later, a stand that supports a speaker's books and notes. In early Christian times, lecterns, then known as ambos, were incorporated into the structure of the sanctuary-one on the north side of the choir for reading the Epistle, the other at the south for reading the Gospel

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The concierge no longer stares down from behind a lectern but sits in a more
  relaxed setting at a desk.
Make that: perfect bathroom reading, if your bathroom is so formal as to
  contain a lectern.
He stepped back from the lectern and made the announcement card rise up from
  its envelope.
Tell me about the whole session and your particular comments when you were up
  there at the lectern.
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