- a raised platform on which a person stands to make a public speech, receive an award or medal, play music, or conduct an orchestra.For example: Speaker after speaker stepped up to the rostrum
- a raised platform supporting a film or television camera.Example: A rostrum camera
- the curved end of a ship’s prow; especially: the beak of a war galley.
- Zoology: a bodily part or process suggesting a bird’s bill as the beak, snout, or proboscis of any of various insects or arachnids and the often spinelike anterior median prolongation of the carapace of a crustacean (as a crayfish or lobster).
The origin of the word goes back to the the mid 16th century. In ancient Rome and Greece, military victories were commemorated with a display of captured arms and standards. These were popularly called Trophies from Greek tropaion, monument of an enemy’s defeat. In ancient Greece, spoils or arms taken in battle and set up on the field and dedicated to a god.
Trophy /ˈtrəʊfi/ noun a cup or other decorative object awarded as a prize for a victory or success.
Warships in those days had pointed beams, called “beaks,” sticking out from the bows. They were used to ram and sink enemy ships. To celebrate the first great naval victory of the Roman republic over Antium in 338 B.C.E, the Romans gathered the beaks of the losers’ ships. They hung them in back of the speaker’s platform in the Forum in RomeThe Latin word for the ship’s beak was rostrum, from the Latin “Rodere” which literally means a beak or a means to gnaw. The word was first used in its plural form, rostra, to denote the platform built. In time rostra came to be used for any speaker’s platform, not just one decorated with the beaks of ships.
It was in the 18th century that it started being used in English in it’s present form, the Latin singular rostrum to mean “a speaker’s platform”. Other words for such a structure include dais, podium and tribune.