orator(redirected from oratorship)
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One who makes an impassioned, impromptu speech. (Soapboxes were once commonly used as makeshift platforms for such speeches.) It seems like there's a soapbox orator on every corner in this city. Sorry, I couldn't hear you over that soapbox orator who's ranting about the government.
An eloquent and persuasive speaker. This term has been around since the sixteenth century, when it was applied to the preacher Henry Smith (ca. 1550–91) and to Joshua Sylvester (1563–1618), a translator. Silver has long been equated with something fast-flowing and dazzlingly bright, and thus is a natural metaphor for eloquent speech. The best-known recipient of the epithet “silver-tongued orator” was William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925), who not only was a wonderful speaker but advocated the free coinage of silver; he won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1896 as a result of a speech in which he said, “You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”
See also: orator