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[uh-kwair-ee-uh m] /əˈkwɛər i əm/
noun, plural aquariums, aquaria
[uh-kwair-ee-uh] /əˈkwɛər i ə/ (Show IPA)
a glass-sided tank, bowl, or the like, in which fish or other living aquatic animals or plants are kept.
a building or institution in which fish or other aquatic animals or plants are kept for exhibit, study, etc.
Origin of aquarium
1840-50; blend of Latin aquārius of or for water (aqu(a) water + -ārius -ary) and vivarium; cf. -arium
Related forms
aquarial, adjective
Can be confused
aquarium, Aquarius. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for aquarium
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But it was not till he met their father at the aquarium that Mr. Murray said a single word about Bertie Rivers.

  • He wanted to change the water of his aquarium, and required Marjorie to help him.

  • Cloth packets, one of which contained meat and the other cotton, were suspended at opposite ends of the aquarium.

  • Cazell says at once, “If you want to see an aquarium you should go to Havre.”

    Happy-Thought Hall F. C. Burnand
  • We can play there in the summer-time, and keep fish as safe as in an aquarium.

    Sweethearts at Home S. R. Crockett
British Dictionary definitions for aquarium


noun (pl) -riums, -ria (-rɪə)
a tank, bowl, or pool in which aquatic animals and plants are kept for pleasure, study, or exhibition
a building housing a collection of aquatic life, as for exhibition
Word Origin
C19: from Latin aquārius relating to water, on the model of vivarium
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for aquarium

1830, noun use of neuter of Latin aquarius "pertaining to water," as a noun, "water-carrier," genitive of aqua "water" (see aqua-). The word existed in Latin, but there it meant "drinking place for cattle." Originally especially for growing aquatic plants; An earlier attempt at a name for "fish tank" was marine vivarium.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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