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[awr-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, or-] /ˈɔr əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, ˈɒr-/
skill or eloquence in public speaking:
The evangelist moved thousands to repentance with his oratory.
the art of public speaking, especially in a formal and eloquent manner.
Origin of oratory1
1580-90; < Latin ōrātōria, noun use of feminine of ōrātōrius of an orator. See orator, -tory1
1. rhetoric, delivery, declamation.


[awr-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, or-] /ˈɔr əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, ˈɒr-/
noun, plural oratories.
a place of prayer, as a small chapel or a room for private devotions.
(initial capital letter) Roman Catholic Church. any of the religious societies of secular priests who live in religious communities but do not take vows.
1300-50; Middle English < Late Latin ōrātōrium place of prayer. See orator, -tory2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for oratory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He should have lived in Athens, in the palmy days of Grecian oratory.

  • The perfection of oratory is like the perfection of anything else; natural power must be aided by art.

    Phaedrus Plato
  • The earliest specimen of oratory is also one of the finest specimens.

    The Greatest English Classic Cleland Boyd McAfee
  • If oratory is to be judged of by its effects, Csar's sermon was a great oration.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • He then sate down perfectly satisfied with this his first performance, feeling that he had the germs of oratory within him.

    Ask Momma R. S. Surtees
British Dictionary definitions for oratory


/ˈɒrətərɪ; -trɪ/
the art of public speaking
rhetorical skill or style
Derived Forms
oratorical, adjective
oratorically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin (ars) ōrātōria (the art of) public speaking


/ˈɒrətərɪ; -trɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
a small room or secluded place, set apart for private prayer
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-Norman, from Church Latin ōrātōrium place of prayer, from ōrāre to plead, pray


/ˈɒrətərɪ; -trɪ/
noun (RC Church)
Also called Congregation of the Oratory. the religious society of secular priests (Oratorians) living in a community founded by St Philip Neri
any church belonging to this society: the Brompton Oratory
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 oratory

"formal public speaking, the art of eloquence," 1580s, from Latin (ars) oratoria "oratorical (art)," fem. of oratorius "of speaking or pleading, pertaining to an orator," from orare "to speak, pray, plead" (see orator).

"small chapel," c.1300, from Old French oratorie and directly from Late Latin oratorium "place of prayer" (especially the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Rome, where musical services were presented), noun use of an adjective, as in oratorium templum, from neuter of Latin oratorius "of or for praying," from orare "to pray, plead, speak" (see orator).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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