ros·​trum | \ˈrä-strəm also ˈrȯ- \
plural rostra\ ˈrä-​strə 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

Auctioneers at the rostrum can often tell who is going to win the bidding in advance. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "Xin Li of Christie's: The Most Valuable Speed-Dial in the Art World," 15 May 2014 That had been a far cry from his bellicose rhetoric, issued both on Twitter and from the rostrum of the United Nations last fall. Catherine Lucey And Zeke Miller, The Christian Science Monitor, "Trump cancels summit with North Korea over perceived threats," 24 May 2018 That had been a far cry from his bellicose rhetoric, issued both on Twitter and from the rostrum of the United Nations last fall., "President Trump pulls out of North Korea summit," 24 May 2018 An awestruck Wiesel, who was speaking at the rostrum, struggled for words. Robert King, Indianapolis Star, "Eva Kor as we've never seen her: Film adds layers to story of Indiana Holocaust survivor," 2 Apr. 2018 Arriving at the rostrum Trump picks up a glass of water, holds it for a moment and then, curiously, just sets it back down. Anchorage Daily News, "Looking for Trump in all the wrong places," 12 Feb. 2018 There has been plenty of pomp and circumstance, and even more long-windedness, as governors from coast to coast stepped to rostrums this month to deliver their annual State of the State addresses. Mitch Smith, New York Times, "The Nation’s Governors Spoke, and We Found a Few Surprises. (Yes, Really.)," 26 Jan. 2018 Corcoran signed the two subpoenas on the House rostrum and announced that a process server was in his office, waiting to serve them. Steve Bousquet And Emily L. Mahoney, miamiherald, "TV executive ignores Florida House subpoenas, sues Speaker | Miami Herald," 16 Jan. 2018 Trump’s overheated language was rare for a U.S. president at the rostrum of the United Nations, but the speech was textbook Trump, dividing the globe into friends and foes and taking unflinching aim at America’s enemies. Washington Post, "Trump vows more sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear buildup," 21 Sep. 2017

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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Statistics for rostrum

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for rostrum

The first known use of rostrum was in 1542

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More Definitions for rostrum



English Language Learners Definition of rostrum

: a small raised platform on a stage


ros·​trum | \ˈrä-strəm \
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 \

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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Comments on rostrum

What made you want to look up rostrum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

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