take the podium


Senior Member

According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, the noun podium has two senses:

1 a small raised area for a performer, speaker, or musical conductor to stand on

2 American English a high sloping surface for putting an open book or notes on while you are giving a speech to a lot of people

Under the second meaning, a sentence containing the phrase "took the podium" is given:

Several speakers took the podium (=spoke from it) that night.

I'm wondering whether this example should have been placed under the first meaning.
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Traditionally, a person doing public speaking (or an orchestra director) does both at the same time:

    1) stands on a raised platform facing the audience (or facing the orchestra)
    2) has a raised slanted platform in front of them, holding their notes (or the music)

    The raised platform is called a "podium" or a "lectern" in AE.

    The sample sentence uses "took" in odd way. Here "took" means "took over" (occupied; took control of) rather than "removed".

    It is normal to use "took" this way in some sentences. For example we say an actor "takes the stage" when the actor starts to occupy the stage (becomes visible to the audience), and the actor "leaves the stage" when they depart the stage.

    I think the sample sentence applies to both definitions. Several speakers each took over both things: the raised platform and the lectern.
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