Podium vs lectern

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A podium is a slightly raised platform that a public speaker or conductor stands on so that he may be seen. A podium is also a low rise which functions as a pedestal or foundation. The plural form is podiums or podia, either is correct. Podium comes from the Greek word podion  meaning foot of a vase.

A lectern is a tall stand with a top suitable for holding a book or notes for a speech. Lecterns are common in classrooms, churches and auditoriums. Due to the confusion between the words podium and lectern, a lectern is often incorrectly referred to as a podium, especially in North America. Lectern first appears in the fourteenth century as lettorne or lettron, from the medieval Latin word lectrum, which in turn comes from the Latin word legere which means to read.


Lincoln County placed a pair of individuals on the podium, including a bronze medal for Lincoln Charter’s Michaela Gammon, at the NCHSAA state cross country championships on Saturday. (The Lincoln Times-News)

Teenage Invercargill driver Liam MacDonald secured a podium in an outstanding effort in round two of the New Zealand Touring Car Series at the V8 Supercar meeting at Pukekohe Park, south of Auckland, at the weekend. (The Southland Times)

Following the opening set, Steven Reineke, the National Symphony Orchestra principal pops conductor, took his place at the conductor’s podium. (The Eagle)

As we do for every debate, we have an extra podium. (The New York Times)

CNN announced before this week’s Democratic debate that it had an extra lectern in Las Vegas, just in case Vice President Biden joined the race at the last minute. (The Lacrosse Tribune)

University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe walks away from a lectern after announcing his resignation during a news conference on in Columbia, Missouri, on November 9. (Newsweek)