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[lek-tern] /ˈlɛk tərn/
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.
Origin of lectern
late Middle English
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lectern
  • 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.
  • On a lectern to one side of the room sits a larger plaque the visitors presented to the library earlier.
  • But here it is-ready to be declaimed from a lectern by the paterfamilias rather than held on your lap.
  • There are twenty or thirty television cameras, he said, and a lectern with a dozen microphones.
  • Inexplicably, he spent the debate hunched down behind his lectern, looking small.
  • Behind a lectern or on television this bearing is less fierce.
  • Wearing his military uniform, he walked slowly to the lectern and stood behind two microphones, gesturing with a big cigar.
British Dictionary definitions for lectern


a reading desk or support in a church
any similar desk or support
Word Origin
C14: from Old French lettrun, from Late Latin lectrum, ultimately from legere to read
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lectern

early 14c., lettorne, lettron, from Old French letron, from Medieval Latin lectrinum, from Late Latin lectrum "lectern," from root of Latin legere "to read" (see lecture (n.)). Half-re-Latinized in English in 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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