[ lek-tern ]
/ ˈlɛk tərn /


a reading desk in a church on which the Bible rests and from which the lessons are read during the church service.
a stand with a slanted top, used to hold a book, speech, manuscript, etc., at the proper height for a reader or speaker.

Nearby words

  1. leclair,
  2. leclanché cell,
  3. leconte de lisle,
  4. leconte de lisle, charles marie,
  5. lect.,
  6. lectin,
  7. lectio difficilior,
  8. lection,
  9. lectionary,
  10. lector

Origin of lectern

1275–1325; earlier lectron(e), late Middle English lectryn < Medieval Latin lēctrīnum, derivative of lēctrum lectern, equivalent to Latin leg(ere) to read + -trum instrumental suffix; replacing Middle English letroun, lettorne < Middle French letrun < Medieval Latin lēctrum, as above

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lectern

British Dictionary definitions for lectern


/ (ˈlɛktən) /


a reading desk or support in a church
any similar desk or support

Word Origin for lectern

C14: from Old French lettrun, from Late Latin lectrum, ultimately from legere to read

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

Word Origin and History for lectern



early 14c., lettorne, lettron, from Old French letron, from Medieval Latin lectrinum, from Late Latin lectrum "lectern," from root of Latin legere "to read" (see lecture (n.)). Half-re-Latinized in English in 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper