ros·​trum | \ ˈrä-strəm How to pronounce rostrum (audio) also ˈrȯ- How to pronounce rostrum (audio) \
plural rostra\ ˈrä-​strə How to pronounce rostrum (audio) also  ˈrȯ-​ \ or rostrums

Definition of rostrum

1 [Latin Rostra, plural, a platform for speakers in the Roman Forum decorated with the beaks of captured ships, from plural of rostrum]
a : an ancient Roman platform for public orators
b : a stage for public speaking
c : a raised platform on a stage
2 : the curved end of a ship's prow especially : the beak of a war galley
3 : a bodily part or process suggesting a bird's bill: such as
a : the beak, snout, or proboscis of any of various insects or arachnids
b : the often spinelike anterior median prolongation of the carapace of a crustacean (such as a crayfish or lobster)

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Examples of rostrum in a Sentence

stood on a rostrum to address the huge crowd
Recent Examples on the Web The president, in his gray suit and pocket square, took his place on the rostrum. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "History writ large and small," 29 Apr. 2021 Harris and Pelosi -- the first women to hold their positions in federal leadership -- are expected to sit behind Biden on the rostrum in masks during the entirety of the speech. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, "6 things to watch during President Joe Biden's first address to Congress," 28 Apr. 2021 When Walter Mondale, the former Vice-President, died on Monday, C-SPAN circulated a video clip of him on the rostrum of the House of Representatives, from January 6, 1981. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "The Trump Administration Is Over, but the Trump Crisis Is Not," 22 Apr. 2021 Even as these activities went on behind closed doors, Nangle was an active member of the state House of Representatives, often spotted standing on the rostrum, introducing bills and speaking in their favor., "Former state lawmaker’s fraud scheme relied on elected office — until indictment ended his career," 17 Apr. 2021 Seated on the House of Representatives' rostrum, Pence will bear witness to the formalization of Trump's — and his own — election defeat, as tellers from the House and Senate record states' electoral votes. Arkansas Online, "Loyal soldier Pence torn between Trump, Constitution," 6 Jan. 2021 On the second-to-last day in June, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey took to the rostrum., "Top 2020 exclusives: The stories you can see only if you subscribe," 27 Dec. 2020 At the Audubon Ballroom, Gene Roberts, a twenty-six-year-old member of Malcolm’s security detail, had been relieved of his post in front of the rostrum and was standing in the back of the hall. Les Payne, The New Yorker, "The Day Malcolm X Was Killed," 27 Aug. 2020 Goodman stood behind a plywood rostrum, in front of a pastoral scene leftover from another event. Les Payne, The New Yorker, "The Day Malcolm X Was Killed," 27 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rostrum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rostrum

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rostrum

Latin, beak, ship's beak, from rodere to gnaw — more at rodent

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Time Traveler for rostrum

Time Traveler

The first known use of rostrum was in 1542

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Statistics for rostrum

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rostrum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for rostrum



English Language Learners Definition of rostrum

formal : a small raised platform on a stage


ros·​trum | \ ˈrä-strəm How to pronounce rostrum (audio) \
plural rostra\ -​trə \ or rostrums

Kids Definition of rostrum

: a stage or platform for public speaking


ros·​trum | \ ˈräs-trəm also ˈrȯs- \
plural rostrums or rostra\ -​trə How to pronounce rostrum (audio) \

Medical Definition of rostrum

: a bodily part or process suggesting a bird's bill: as
a : the reflected anterior portion of the corpus callosum below the genu
b : the interior median spine of the body of the basisphenoid bone articulating with the vomer

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