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[ros-truh] /ˈrɒs trə/
a plural of rostrum.


[ros-truh m] /ˈrɒs trəm/
noun, plural rostra
[ros-truh] /ˈrɒs trə/ (Show IPA),
any platform, stage, or the like, for public speaking.
a pulpit.
a beaklike projection from the prow of a ship, especially one on an ancient warship for ramming an enemy ship; beak; ram.
Roman Antiquity. (in the forum) the raised platform, adorned with the beaks of captured warships, from which orations, pleadings, etc., were delivered.
Biology. a beaklike process or extension of some part; rostellum.
British Theater. a raised platform or dais, especially one with hinged sides that can be folded and stored within a relatively small space.
Origin of rostrum
1570-80; < Latin rōstrum snout, bill, beak of a bird, ship's prow (in plural, speaker's platform), equivalent to rōd(ere) to gnaw, bite (cf. rodent) + -trum instrumental suffix, with dt > st
1. stand, dais, podium, lectern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for rostra
Historical Examples
  • III.38 common pulpits: rostra, the public platforms in the Forum.

  • Fructus 5-coccus, rostratus; rostra spiralia, introrsum barbata.

  • To make his story probable, he says that it was done before the head was fixed on the rostra.

  • It was of bronze, made out of the rostra of the captured ships.

    Rambles in Rome S. Russell Forbes
  • But scarcely was he let loose when he returned and made his way to the rostra with loud shouts, urging the citizens to aid him.

  • The form of this rostra is preserved to us, being represented on a coin.

    Rambles in Rome S. Russell Forbes
  • Before leaving the area we may raise the question whether it contained a speakers' platform, like the rostra in the Roman Forum.

  • Constantine is shown in this bas-relief addressing the people from the rostra.

    Old Rome Robert Burn
  • The column of Phocas is also erect; and you see some portions of the rostra fitted together out of fragments discovered near by.

  • The heads of the most eminent citizens they fastened to the rostra.

British Dictionary definitions for rostra


noun (pl) -trums, -tra (-trə)
any platform, stage, or dais on which public speakers stand to address an audience
a platform or dais in front of an orchestra on which the conductor stands
another word for ram (sense 5)
the prow or beak of an ancient Roman ship
(biology, zoology) a beak or beaklike part
Word Origin
C16: from Latin rōstrum beak, ship's prow, from rōdere to nibble, gnaw; in plural, rōstra, orator's platform, because this platform in the Roman forum was adorned with the prows of captured ships
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rostra



1540s, from Latin rostrum, name of the platform stand for public speakers in the Forum in ancient Rome. It was decorated with the beaks of ships taken in the first naval victory of the Roman republic, over Antium, in 338 B.C.E., and the word's older sense is "end of a ship's prow," literally "beak, muzzle, snout," originally "means of gnawing," instrument noun form of rodere "to gnaw" (see rodent). Cf. claustrum "lock, bar," from claudere "to shut." Extended sense of any platform for public speaking is first recorded 1766. Classical plural form is rostra.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rostra in Medicine

rostrum ros·trum (rŏs'trəm)
n. pl. ros·trums or ros·tra (-trə)
A beaklike or snoutlike projection.

ros'tral (-trəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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