[uh-kwair-ee-uh m]
noun, plural a·quar·i·ums, a·quar·i·a [uh-kwair-ee-uh] /əˈkwɛər i ə/.
  1. a glass-sided tank, bowl, or the like, in which fish or other living aquatic animals or plants are kept.
  2. 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 formsa·quar·i·al, adjective
Can be confusedaquarium Aquarius Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for aquaria


Examples from the Web for aquaria

Historical Examples of aquaria

  • I wish all the young people who write about aquaria could see mine.

  • It is interesting to watch the Dragon flies through their transformations, as they can easily be kept in aquaria.

    Our Common Insects

    Alpheus Spring Packard

  • As absurd, impartially considered, as the strange creatures quaintly adapted to curious environments one saw in aquaria.

  • In the following paragraphs are given directions for making the necessary live-cages and aquaria for these insects.

  • How does Mother Nature manage the ventilation of her aquaria, the ponds and streams?

British Dictionary definitions for aquaria


noun plural -riums or -ria (-rɪə)
  1. a tank, bowl, or pool in which aquatic animals and plants are kept for pleasure, study, or exhibition
  2. a building housing a collection of aquatic life, as for exhibition

Word Origin for aquarium

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

Word Origin and History for aquaria



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