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[hot-bed] /ˈhɒtˌbɛd/
a bottomless, boxlike, usually glass-covered structure and the bed of earth it covers, heated typically by fermenting manure or electrical cables, for growing plants out of season.
a place or environment favoring rapid growth or spread, especially of something disliked or unwanted:
a hotbed of disease.
Slang. a bed shared by two or more persons in shifts, each sleeping in it for or at a designated time and then vacating it for the next occupant.
verb (used without object), hotbedded, hotbedding.
Slang. to share a bed in shifts, so that it is always occupied.
Origin of hotbed
First recorded in 1620-30; hot + bed Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hotbed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sects were springing up all over England as weeds in a hotbed.


    James Anthony Froude
  • If there is no greenhouse, a hotbed is an important help in the garden.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
  • Industry—and the engineer is the backbone of industry—is a hotbed of competition.

    Opportunities in Engineering

    Charles M. Horton
  • It is a hotbed of heathen enthusiasm and of blinded devotion.

    A Tour of the Missions

    Augustus Hopkins Strong
  • A corrupt, unregenerate heart, which is a hotbed and nursery of the devil.

    Sanctification J. W. Byers
British Dictionary definitions for hotbed


a glass-covered bed of soil, usually heated by fermenting material, used for propagating plants, forcing early vegetables, etc
a place offering ideal conditions for the growth of an idea, activity, etc, esp one considered bad: a hotbed of insurrection
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 hotbed

1620s, from hot + bed (n.); originally "bed of earth heated by fermenting manure for forcing growing plants;" generalized sense of "place that fosters rapid growth" is from 1768.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hotbed

hot bed

n phr,n

  1. A bed used both day and night, by shifts of sleepers (1945+)
  2. A place that produces or is prominently rich in specified things: College these days is a hotbed of sobriety (1768+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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