pulpit

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pulpit, in churches, elevated platform with low enclosing sides, used for preaching the sermon. In the earliest churches the episcopal throne served this purpose. The boxlike elevated ambo of early medieval times, the apparent forerunner of the pulpit, was situated in the choir and served for reading and singing. In basilical churches there was usually an ambo at both the north and south sides of the choir. At an unknown date the north-side ambo came to be used for sermons, its location being a matter of favorable acoustics rather than ritual. The modern pulpit is ordinarily in the nave against the first pier outside the chancel and at the epistle side. Pulpits early became objects of fine craftsmanship. They were generally polygonal, supported by a single pillar or a group of columns or by brackets extending from a wall. In Italy there are many handsome examples, enriched with sculpture and mosaics. The hexagonal carved marble pulpit (1259) in the baptistery at Pisa, by the sculptor Nicola Pisano, displayed the first intimations of the Renaissance. The cathedral at Prato has the celebrated round outdoor pulpit sculptured by Donatello, who also designed in his last years two magnificent rectangular pulpits for the Church of San Lorenzo, Florence. With the Reformation the pulpit became the most conspicuous and important accessory in the Protestant church. Modern pulpits are, as a rule, of simple design.

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pul·pit / ˈpoŏlˌpit; ˈpəl-; -pət/ • n. a raised platform or lectern in a church or chapel from which the preacher delivers a sermon. ∎  (the pulpit) religious teaching as expressed in sermons; preachers collectively: the movies could rival the pulpit as an agency molding the ideas of the mass public. ∎  a raised platform in the bow of a fishing boat or whaler. ∎  a guard rail enclosing a small area at the bow of a yacht. ORIGIN: Middle English: from Latin pulpitum ‘scaffold, platform,’ in medieval Latin ‘pulpit.’

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pulpit. Partially enclosed elevated desk of wood, masonry, etc., in a church (usually on the north-east side of the nave) for a preacher. Often ornate, a pulpit may have a canopy over (called tester) functioning partly as a sound-reflector. The Anglican three-decker pulpit contains at the bottom level a clerk's stall, a reading-desk above, and at the top the pulpit proper, designed as a whole.

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pulpit a raised enclosed platform in a church or chapel from which the preacher delivers a sermon. The word comes (in Middle English) from Latin pulpitum ‘scaffold, platform’, in medieval Latin ‘pulpit’.
bully pulpit a public office or position of authority that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue derives from Theodore Roosevelt's comment as US President, ‘I have got such a bully pulpit!’

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pulpit XIV. — L. pulpitum scaffold, platform, stage, medL. pulpit; of unkn. orig.