Origin: L, beak, ship's beak, fr. Rodere, rosum, to gnaw. See Rodent.

1. The beak or head of a ship.

2. (Rostra) The Beaks; the stage or platform in the forum where orations, pleadings, funeral harangues, etc, were delivered; so called because after the Latin war, it was adorned with the beaks of captured vessels; later, applied also to other platforms erected in Rome for the use of public orators.

3. Hence, a stage for public speaking; the pulpit or platform occupied by an orator or public speaker. "Myself will mount the rostrum in his favor." (Addison)

4. <ornithology> Any beaklike prolongation, especially. Of the head of an animal, as the beak of birds. The beak, or sucking mouth parts, of Hemiptera.

The snout of a gastropod mollusk.

The anterior, often spinelike, prolongation of the carapace of a crustacean, as in the lobster and the prawn.

5. <botany> Same as Rostellum.

6. <chemistry> The pipe to convey the distilling liquor into its receiver in the common alembic.

7. <surgery> A pair of forceps of various kinds, having a beaklike form.

(01 Mar 1998)