American Dictionary of the English Language

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1. A speech made in public, in the tone and manner of an oration; a discourse addressed to the reason or to the passions; a set speech; a harangue. This word is applied especially to the public speaking and speeches of students in colleges, practiced for exercises in oratory. It is applies also to public speaking in the legislature, and in the pulpit. Very often it is used for a noisy harangue, without solid sense or argument; as, mere declamation; empty declamation

2. A piece spoken in public, or intended for the public.