from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A desk adapted for use in reading; specifically, a high desk for holding a book or manuscript to be read by a person while standing; in a church, same as lectern, 1.


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  • On festival days and Sundays four mother precentors intone the offices before a large reading-desk with four places.

    Les Miserables

  • And now, upon this the third morning after your departure, things are but little better; for though the lamp burns in my den, and VOET ON THE PANDECTS hath his wisdom spread open before me, yet as I only use him as a reading-desk on which to scribble this sheet of nonsense to Darsie Latimer, it is probable the vicinity will be of little furtherance to my studies.


  • The pulpit and reading-desk, both of carved oak and of a tulip shape, were placed in front of the communion-rails, on a spacious platform ascended by three steps — this, the steps, and the aisles of the church were carpeted with beautiful Kidderminster carpeting.

    The Englishwoman in America

  • Besides herself the congregation consisted only of the parson, clerk, school-children, and three old people living on alms, who sat under the reading-desk; and thus, when Mr. Torkingham blazed forth the denunciatory sentences of the Commination, nearly the whole force of them seemed to descend upon her own shoulders.

    Two on a Tower

  • Chiswick Church from the school-pew to the reading-desk.

    Vanity Fair

  • There were two easy-chairs; a standing reading-desk piled with bills; a couple of very meagre briefs on a broken-legged study-table.

    The History of Pendennis

  • It was his custom of a Sunday, when this meal was over, to sit close by the fire, a volume of some dry divinity on his reading-desk, until the clock of the neighbouring church rang out the hour of twelve, when he would go soberly and gratefully to bed.

    The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

  • Standing at a reading-desk in the Barchester news-room, Mr. Slope digested this article with considerable satisfaction.

    Barchester Towers

  • The rector, as behooved him, kissed his child behind the vestry door, to soothe all sting, and then he strode forth toward the reading-desk; and the tuning of fiddles sank to deferential scrape.

    Mary Anerley

  • She walked slowly to the chair, and seated herself in it; there was a reading-desk before it, on which lay a book open, as it had been left by her father.

    The Mysteries of Udolpho


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