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[ros-truh m] /ˈrɒs trəm/
noun, plural rostra
[ros-truh] /ˈrɒs trə/ (Show IPA),
any platform, stage, or the like, for public speaking.
a pulpit.
a beaklike projection from the prow of a ship, especially one on an ancient warship for ramming an enemy ship; beak; ram.
Roman Antiquity. (in the forum) the raised platform, adorned with the beaks of captured warships, from which orations, pleadings, etc., were delivered.
Biology. a beaklike process or extension of some part; rostellum.
British Theater. a raised platform or dais, especially one with hinged sides that can be folded and stored within a relatively small space.
Origin of rostrum
1570-80; < Latin rōstrum snout, bill, beak of a bird, ship's prow (in plural, speaker's platform), equivalent to rōd(ere) to gnaw, bite (cf. rodent) + -trum instrumental suffix, with dt > st
1. stand, dais, podium, lectern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rostrum
  • Atop the rostrum he would impugn his enemies, excite crowds to action and deflect his detractors' barbs.
  • The flags of the delegations advanced and formed a semi-circle, in the center of which was a tiny rostrum in the arena.
  • As long as there is a rostrum to lean on, he will go on talking, but his probable role has become that of a spoiler.
  • rostrum slightly longer than that of the brown or pink shrimp.
  • The speaker is elected by the majority party and sits in the center chair of the rostrum and directs the proceedings.
  • On the side of the head, seven feet from the tip of the rostrum, are the eyes.
  • Males possess a characteristic patch of stiff hairs on the top of the rostrum.
  • The function of the rostrum is not fully understood.
  • Its common name originates from its blunt snout, or rostrum.
British Dictionary definitions for rostrum


noun (pl) -trums, -tra (-trə)
any platform, stage, or dais on which public speakers stand to address an audience
a platform or dais in front of an orchestra on which the conductor stands
another word for ram (sense 5)
the prow or beak of an ancient Roman ship
(biology, zoology) a beak or beaklike part
Word Origin
C16: from Latin rōstrum beak, ship's prow, from rōdere to nibble, gnaw; in plural, rōstra, orator's platform, because this platform in the Roman forum was adorned with the prows of captured ships
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 rostrum

1540s, from Latin rostrum, name of the platform stand for public speakers in the Forum in ancient Rome. It was decorated with the beaks of ships taken in the first naval victory of the Roman republic, over Antium, in 338 B.C.E., and the word's older sense is "end of a ship's prow," literally "beak, muzzle, snout," originally "means of gnawing," instrument noun form of rodere "to gnaw" (see rodent). Cf. claustrum "lock, bar," from claudere "to shut." Extended sense of any platform for public speaking is first recorded 1766. Classical plural form is rostra.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rostrum in Medicine

rostrum ros·trum (rŏs'trəm)
n. pl. ros·trums or ros·tra (-trə)
A beaklike or snoutlike projection.

ros'tral (-trəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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