ora·​tion ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce oration (audio)
: an elaborate discourse (see discourse entry 1 sense 2) delivered in a formal and dignified manner
She delivered an oration on the value of art in our society.
a commencement oration
a funeral oration

Examples of oration in a Sentence

She made an oration on the value of art in society. the celebrated orations of Daniel Webster in unwavering support of the federal union
Recent Examples on the Web On Saturday night inside a Beverly Hilton ballroom, Hanks introduces Davis with a rousing oration that thematically probes the breadth of the record mogul’s nearly 60 years in the industry. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2024 The words rush out, not in sentences, or even paragraphs, but as scrolling pages of oration, in which Scorsese expounds on history — cinematic, American, his own — with passion, professorial depth and a tempo set at Tommy gun. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2023 Ditto to his indignant oration calling his haters an ignorant and complacent horde. Naveen Kumar, Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2024 Each wine was accompanied by an entertaining oration from Filippo Marchi, a wine expert. Molly Young, New York Times, 19 Mar. 2024 The show is continuing the legacy and history of oration in a conversational style that is effective and needed. Robyn Mowatt, Essence, 4 Jan. 2024 This zany sports parody, made during the Frat Pack's peak, has everything: hilarious commentators, inspiring oration from Lance Armstrong, and more groin hits than a marathon of America's Funniest Home Videos. Ew Staff Updated, EW.com, 30 Nov. 2023 The movie came freighted with exposition, along with lengthy monologues and much stirring oration. Glenn Whipp, Twin Cities, 28 Jan. 2024 The film highlights the importance of oration and its form of history to keep traditions and culture alive as both Cimone and Annece come from an Afro Caribbean and American heritage. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 20 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oration.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin oration-, oratio speech, oration, from orare to plead, speak, pray; akin to Hittite ariya- to consult an oracle and perhaps to Greek ara prayer

First Known Use

circa 1504, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of oration was circa 1504

Dictionary Entries Near oration

Cite this Entry

“Oration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oration. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ora·​tion ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce oration (audio)
: an important speech given on some special occasion

from Latin oration-, oratio "speech," from oratus, past participle of orare "to speak, pray" — related to adore, oracle

More from Merriam-Webster on oration

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!