A Roast is a large piece of meat, meant to serve more than one person, and meant to be cooked by roasting.
We usually think first of beef roasts, and then perhaps of pork roasts, or leg of lamb, but a "roast dinner" could be a chicken or a turkey as well.
For the most part, though, unless qualified, the word roast these days means beef.
Beef pot roasts are an anomaly of the definition. They are large cuts, meant to serve more than one person, but meant to be braised instead of being roasted.
Roasts don't have to be cooked in an oven; they could also be cooked on a spit over an open fire.
Throughout history, roasts were usually cooked over open fires. It was only the very wealthy that had ovens. Ordinary folk like us having ovens really only came quite recently in history.
"The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef." -- Samuel Johnson (English writer. 18 September 1709 – 13 December 1784)
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