lectern


lectern
/lek"teuhrn/, n.
1. a reading desk in a church on which the Bible rests and from which the lessons are read during the church service.
2. a stand with a slanted top, used to hold a book, speech, manuscript, etc., at the proper height for a reader or speaker.
[1275-1325; earlier lectron(e), late ME lectryn < ML lectrinum, deriv. of lectrum lectern, equiv. to L leg(ere) to read + -trum instrumental suffix; r. ME letroun, lettorne < MF letrun < ML lectrum, as above]

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      originally a pedestal-based reading desk with a slanted top used for supporting liturgical books—such as Bibles, missals, and breviaries at religious services; later, a stand that supports a speaker's books and notes. In early Christian times, lecterns, then known as ambos, were incorporated into the structure of the sanctuary—one on the north side of the choir for reading the Epistle, the other at the south for reading the Gospel.

      The rise of monasticism, with its more elaborate rituals and heavier prayer books, stimulated the demand for a mobile lectern that could be moved about the sanctuary according to need. Usually made of wood, though occasionally of metal, the lectern lent itself to elaborate decorative treatment. The desklike structure was largely superseded in the later Middle Ages by an eagle, the back of whose outstretched wings provided support for a book; this type of lectern has maintained its popularity in ecclesiastical circles ever since. As the Reformation tended to favour congregation-orientated services, the lectern was moved into the body of the church. The Gothic Revival stimulated the production of lecterns in the 19th century, when they were often used to embellish the domestic interior. The modern secular lectern is usually a tall, narrow desk with a sloping top and a ledge to hold a dictionary, book, or other papers while its user reads or lectures from a standing position.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lectern — • Support for a book, reading desk, or bookstand, a solid and permanent structure upon which the Sacred Books, which were generally large and heavy, were placed when used by the ministers of the altar in liturgical functions Catholic Encyclopedia …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Lectern — Lec tern (l[e^]k t[u^]rn), n. [Written also {lecturn} and {lettern}.] [LL. lectrinum, fr. lectrum; cf. L. legere, lectum, to read.] 1. A choir desk, or reading desk, in some churches, from which the lections, or Scripture lessons, are chanted or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lectern — (n.) early 14c., lettorne, lettron, from O.Fr. letron, from M.L. lectrinum, from L.L. lectrum lectern, from root of L. legere to read (see LECTURE (Cf. lecture) (n.)). Half re Latinized in 15c …   Etymology dictionary

  • lectern — [n] reading desk ambo, platform, pulpit, reading stand, rostrum, stand, support; concepts 440,443 …   New thesaurus

  • lectern — ► NOUN ▪ a tall stand with a sloping top from which a speaker can read while standing up. ORIGIN Latin lectrum, from legere to read …   English terms dictionary

  • lectern — [lek′tərn] n. [ME lectorne, altered (infl. by L forms) < earlier lettrun < OFr < ML lectrum < L lectus, pp. of legere, to read: see LOGIC] 1. a reading desk in a church, esp. such a desk from which a part of the Scriptures is read in… …   English World dictionary

  • Lectern — A lectern (from the Latin lectus , past participle of legere , to read ) is a reading desk with a slanted top, usually placed on a stand or affixed to a some other form of support, on which documents or books are placed as support for reading… …   Wikipedia

  • lectern — Lecturn Lec turn (l[e^]k t[u^]rn), n. [LL. lectrinum, fr. lectrum; cf. L. legere, lectum, to read.] Same as {lectern}. [Written also {lectern} and {lettern}.] Fairholt. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lectern — UK [ˈlektɜː(r)n] / US [ˈlektərn] noun [countable] Word forms lectern : singular lectern plural lecterns a tall piece of furniture with a sloping surface where you put an open book or document when you are giving a speech …   English dictionary

  • Lectern —    The desk or stand from which the Scriptural Lessons in Church are read, and is so called from this fact. The term lectern is derived from the Latin word lecturni, meaning a pulpit or from the Greek lektron, a couch or rest for a book. Lecterns …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia


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