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 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 The lifeguards noticed that the animal had blood near its rostrum, or nose. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Young dolphin dies despite rescue efforts of Pacific Beach lifeguards, SeaWorld team," 25 Aug. 2020 Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus took the rostrum in the state House chamber to call for police reform Monday as the day's session was set to begin, reports CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Biden meets with George Floyd's family," 8 June 2020 Truman pulled out some paper and a pen, even though he was seated at his elevated desk on the rostrum in the Senate chamber. CBS News, "Book excerpt: "Countdown 1945" and the race to the atomic bomb," 5 June 2020 Microphones will not be in the well of the floor, as social distancing rules dictate, and lawmakers should aim to avoid getting too close to clerks sitting in the House rostrum. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "House members to follow social distancing rules during coronavirus relief package vote," 26 Mar. 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

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rostrum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on rostrum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rostrum

Nglish: Translation of rostrum for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about rostrum

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