Student Dictionary

One entry found for rostrum.
Main Entry: ros·trum
Pronunciation: primarystressräs-trschwam
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural rostra /-trschwa /; or rostrums
Etymology: from Latin Rostra "the speaker's platform in the Forum," from rostra, plural of rostrum "ship's beak"
1 : a stage or platform from which to give a speech
2 : a bodily part (as a snout) that resembles a bird's beak
Word History Rostrum, a "raised platform for speakers," goes back to the collecting of war souvenirs by the ancient Romans. Warships in those days had pointed beams, called "beaks," sticking out from the bows. They were used to ram and sink enemy ships. To celebrate a great naval victory, the Romans gathered the beaks of the losers' ships. They hung them in back of the speaker's platform in the Forum in Rome. The Latin word for the ship's beak was rostrum. The plural, rostra, soon came to be used for the speaker's platform. In time rostra came to be used for any speaker's platform, not just one decorated with the beaks of ships. In the 18th century English began using the Latin singular form rostrum to mean "a speaker's platform."
[rostrum illustration]

Pronunciation Symbols