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Trib"une (?), n. [L. tribunus, properly, the chief of a tribe, fr. tribus tribe: cf. F. tribun. See Tribe.] 1. (Rom. Antiq.) An officer or magistrate chosen by the people, to protect them from the oppression of the patricians, or nobles, and to defend their liberties against any attempts that might be made upon them by the senate and consuls.
&hand_; The tribunes were at first two, but their number was increased ultimately to ten. There were also military tribunes, officers of the army, of whom there were from four to six in each legion. Other officers were also called tribunes; as, tribunes of the treasury, etc.
2. Anciently, a bench or elevated place, from which speeches were delivered; in France, a kind of pulpit in the hall of the legislative assembly, where a member stands while making an address; any place occupied by a public orator.