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A drawing of a dais with throne under a baldachin
Elizabeth II standing on a dais while reviewing a parade in 1946

A dais or daïs (/ˈd.əs/ or /ˈd.əs/)[1] is any raised platform located either inside or outside a room or enclosure, often for dignified occupancy,[2] as at the front of a lecture hall or sanctuary.

Historically, the dais was a part of the floor at the end of a medieval hall, raised a step above the rest of the room. On this the Master of the household or assembly (as it might be, the lord of the manor, Master of a College, Fraternity or Conventual house) dined with his senior associates and guests at the High Table, while the general company occupied the lower area of the room. In medieval halls there was generally a deep recessed bay window at one or at each end of the dais, supposed to be for retirement or greater privacy than the open hall could afford.[3] The dais area often had its own doorway for admission from the Master's chambers, while access for the generality was from a doorway into the main area of the hall.

At military parades, the dais is the raised, sometimes covered, platform from where the troops are reviewed, addresses made and salutes taken. It can also be with stairs and a throne.

In life drawing rooms of art schools, the platform where the model poses for the students is sometimes referred to as the dais.


The word dais was first used in the thirteenth century.[4] The word comes from the Anglo-French deis, meaning "table" or "platform", from the Greek δίσκος dískos, meaning "disk" or "dish".[5]

See also


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Online - Dais
  2. ^ Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Dais" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 761.
  4. ^ "Dais". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  5. ^ "Dais". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-06-22.

External links

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