Is it true that the word "oration" can be used only to refer to speeches given at funerals?
By Swami Abhiramananda, Coimbatore, India (10.12.2006).
No, it is not true. An "oration" is usually given on a ceremonial occasion. It needn't be something that is given only when someone dies. An oration is a public speech given by an individual who is generally well-known. The speech tends to be formal in nature. The subject matter chosen tends to be serious and the language used is very formal.
Here are a few examples.
* The Minister gave an oration on the importance of not smoking.
* I attended a lengthy funeral oration, and boy, was it boring.
• The audience listened to the Professor's skilled oration.
The stress, by the way, is on the second syllable "ra".