Definition of pulpit in US English:



  • 1A raised platform or lectern in a church or chapel from which the preacher delivers a sermon.

    • ‘Church ministers swapped the pulpit for the catwalk yesterday as they modelled the latest clerical designs at the clergy's answer to London Fashion Week.’
    • ‘Even the most rational and least decorated of Protestant churches had an unmissable pulpit for the spreading of the Word.’
    • ‘Early Christian churches had no pulpits other than the ambos where scriptures could be read.’
    • ‘Abbot Samson of Bury St Edmunds is said to have preached in the vernacular to his English audience, going so far as to erect a pulpit in the abbey church so that he might be heard clearly.’
    • ‘As there was now less need for the nave to be a general-purpose open space, and as preaching became commoner, churches began to fill up with pulpits, lecterns, screens, and benches.’
    • ‘The Kirk says there is no reason why portable post offices could not be constructed next to pulpits in churches, though it is more likely vestries or church halls would be used.’
    • ‘The gay rights movement is uncomfortable with that tack, a skepticism bred from years of anti-gay sermons being delivered from pulpits across the country.’
    • ‘During the closing weeks of the campaign, a pastoral letter was read from pulpits in Catholic churches repeating the ominous suggestion of excommunication.’
    • ‘If it was in the Bible notes, and if preachers taught it from the pulpits of the churches, then it must be true.’
    • ‘In some pulpits of our church, preaching continues to be irrelevant, disconnected and, yes, even boring.’
    • ‘Furthermore, divorced people are well represented in the churches' pews and pulpits.’
    • ‘He quoted from scripture and preached from the pulpits of black churches in the cities of key battleground states.’
    • ‘Within the past year I've read newspaper accounts of two Protestant pastors who were suspended from their pulpits for preaching sermons downloaded from the Internet.’
    • ‘Gems such as stained glass windows, wooden pews, a pulpit and a stone font are being removed from a church in Crescent Road, Beckenham, before the site is redeveloped.’
    • ‘At the pulpit there was a preacher, dressed in black with long, blond hair.’
    • ‘The pulpit in the church is designed like the prow of a boat.’
    • ‘The medieval remains, buried over 2 metres down, were impressive; part of the priory church, a stone pulpit and an unexpectedly well preserved chapel with a basement full of bones!’
    • ‘His book is Growth Fetish and if it weren't for the fact that he was trained as an economist, you might expect him to be holding forth in a church pulpit on the evil of mammon.’
    • ‘Alan's concern was that as a Presbyterian clergyman he might not be permitted to preach in pulpits of the Church of England, but this was not a problem.’
    • ‘So he took a bible in one hand and his tape recorder in the other, stood at the little pulpit, a preached a short sermon in Mandarin Chinese.’
    stand, lectern, platform, podium, stage, staging, dais, rostrum
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the 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’
      • ‘I will grant you that ‘provocation’ may not be the most socially acceptable form of teaching from the pulpit.’
      • ‘The declaration promises that clergy and lay leaders will preach acceptance for homosexuality from the pulpit and in Sunday school.’
      • ‘They actually like to see more correlation from the pulpit of their religious commitment and how it affects public policy.’
      • ‘Blogs range from offering recipes to requests for prayers, to moving spiritual reflections and writings about saints to polemics about political correctness in the pulpit.’
      • ‘The importance of provocative teaching from the pulpit is to remind and encourage persons of all ages to hear anew the call to discipleship which God issues.’
    2. 1.2 A raised platform in the bow of a fishing boat or whaler.
      • ‘Along the deck, out onto the pulpit and then farther out along the bowsprit he fled, as far away from her as he could get, while the porridge was arguing vigorously with his stomach now, and was not laughing.’
      • ‘However, standard equipment includes a bow pulpit, life lines and rails.’
      • ‘With its integrated swim platform and bow pulpit, the deck of the 300 Fiesta Vee has the appearance and feel of a larger boat.’
      • ‘Torn canvas, crushed bow pulpits and swim platforms, crunched rub rails and assorted dings will keep repair yards busy for months.’
      • ‘Another concern voiced by some is that the length of the boat does not include the bow pulpit and owners have found their Silvertons don't fit into their slips.’
    3. 1.3 A guard rail enclosing a small area at the bow of a yacht.
      • ‘I hung over the side of the pulpit and saw that the bobstay chain was shackled to the end cap on the bowsprit, so I hunted up a wrench and another shackle.’
      • ‘Not only are stanchions and pulpits expensive to repair or replace, but they often tear out at the bases, which will cost you even more money.’


Middle English: from Latin pulpitum ‘scaffold, platform’, in medieval Latin ‘pulpit’.