[poo l-pit, puhl-]
See more synonyms for pulpit on Thesaurus.com
  1. a platform or raised structure in a church, from which the sermon is delivered or the service is conducted.
  2. the pulpit,
    1. the clerical profession; the ministry.
    2. members of the clergy collectively: In attendance were representatives of medicine, the pulpit, and the bar.
  3. (especially in Protestantism and Judaism) the position of pastor or rabbi: He heard of a pulpit in Chicago that was about to be vacated.
  4. preaching.
  5. (in small craft)
    1. a safety rail rising about 18 to 30 inches (48 to 76 cm) from the deck near the bow and extending around it.
    2. a similar rail at the stern.
  6. a control booth in a factory, usually elevated and glass-enclosed, from which an operator can observe and direct the manufacturing process.

Origin of pulpit

1300–50; Middle English < Late Latin pulpitum pulpit, Latin: platform, stage
Related formspul·pit·al, adjectivepul·pit·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pulpit

lectern, podium, stump, platform, desk, rostrum, stage, soapbox

Examples from the Web for pulpit

Contemporary Examples of pulpit

Historical Examples of pulpit

  • There was a large platform, with chairs upon it, but no pulpit or reading-desk.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • Having ascended the pulpit, Father Massias did not at once speak.

  • The idea of Turkey wagging his head in a pulpit made me laugh.

  • And yet this old man in the pulpit called it a place where you went to rest!

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Then I should never have had to encounter the damnable snares of the pulpit!

    Salted With Fire

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for pulpit


  1. a raised platform, usually surrounded by a barrier, set up in churches as the appointed place for preaching, leading in prayer, etc
  2. any similar raised structure, such as a lectern
  3. a medium for expressing an opinion, such as a column in a newspaper
  4. the pulpit
    1. the preaching of the Christian message
    2. the clergy or their message and influence

Word Origin for pulpit

C14: from Latin pulpitum a platform
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 pulpit

early 14c., from Late Latin pulpitum "raised structure on which preachers stand," in classical Latin "scaffold; stage, platform for actors," of unknown origin. Also borrowed in Middle High German as pulpit (German Pult "desk"). Sense of "Christian preachers and ministers generally" is from 1560s. Pulpiteer, old contemptuous term for "professional preacher," is recorded from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper