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An orator, or oratist, is a (public) speaker.

An orator may also be called an oratarian - literally, "one who orates".


It is recorded in English since c.1374, meaning "one who pleads or argues for a cause", from Anglo-French oratour, Old French orateur (14th century), Latin orator ("speaker"), from orare ("speak before a court or assembly; plead"), derived from a Proto-Indo-European base *or- ("to pronounce a ritual formula").

The modern meaning of the word, "public speaker", is attested from c.1430.


In ancient Romemarker, the art of speaking in public (Ars Oratoria) was a professional competence especially cultivated by politicians and lawyers. As the Greeks were still seen as the masters in this field, as in philosophy and most sciences, the leading Roman families often either sent their sons to study these things under a famous master in Greece (as was the case with the young Julius Caesar), or engaged a Greek teacher (under pay or as a slave).

In the young revolutionary French republic, Orateur (French for "orator", but compare the Anglo-Saxon parliamentary speaker) was the formal title for the delegated members of the Tribunat to the Corps législatif, to motivate their ruling on a presented bill.

In the 19th century, orators and lecturers, such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Col. Robert G. Ingersoll were major providers of popular entertainment.

The term pulpit orator denotes Christian authors, often clergymen, renowned for their ability to write and/or deliver (from the pulpit in church, hence the word) rhetorically skilled religious sermons.

In some universities, the title 'Orator' is given to the official whose task it is to give speeches on ceremonial occasions, such as the presentation of honorary degrees.

Other famous orators

Ancient and medieval orators

Modern orators

Though most politicians (by nature of their office) may perform many speeches, as do those who support or oppose a political issue, to include them all would be prohibitive. The following are those who have been noted as famous specifically for their oratory abilities, and/or for a particularly famous speech or speeches. Inaugural Address]], Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

koffi anan


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