DAIS (Fr. dais, estrade, Ital. predella), originally a part of the floor at the end of a medieval hall, raised a step above the rest of the building. On this the lord of the mansion dined with his friends at the high table, apart from the retainers and servants. 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. In France the word is understood as a canopy or hanging over a seat; probably the name was given from the fact that the seats of great men were then surmounted by such a feature. In ordinary use, the term means any raised platform in a room, for dignified occupancy.
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This page was last modified 29-SEP-18
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