or ath·e·ne·um

[ ath-uh-nee-uhm, -ney- ]
See synonyms for athenaeum on
  1. an institution for the promotion of literary or scientific learning.

  2. a library or reading room.

  1. (initial capital letter) a sanctuary of Athena at Athens, built by the Roman emperor Hadrian, and frequented by poets and scholars.

Origin of athenaeum

1720–30; <Latin <Greek Athḗnaion temple of Athena, where poets read their works

Words Nearby athenaeum Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use athenaeum in a sentence

  • His athenaeum show, “Memorial Leaves,” uses plant and tree leaves to make new prints of historical photos related to the Civil War and one of its most famous witnesses, Walt Whitman.

  • The "London athenaeum" spoke of it as having been described as a "tomahawk sort of satire."

    A Mortal Antipathy | Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • He said I ought to belong to the athenaeum, and he would propose me, and the committee would elect me as a matter of course.

    Endymion | Benjamin Disraeli
  • He used to make his way to the athenaeum early in the day 264 and go straight to the library.

  • Edwin was the leading man at the Howard athenaeum, playing stock pieces and supporting travelling stars.

    Nat Goodwin's Book | Nat C. Goodwin
  • There is the story of the man who gained admittance to the athenaeum Library in Boston, although he was not a member.

    Book of Etiquette, Volume 2 | Lillian Eichler Watson

British Dictionary definitions for athenaeum (1 of 2)


US atheneum

/ (ˌæθɪˈniːəm) /

  1. an institution for the promotion of learning

  2. a building containing a reading room or library, esp one used by such an institution

Origin of athenaeum

C18: from Late Latin, from Greek Athēnaion temple of Athene, frequented by poets and teachers

British Dictionary definitions for Athenaeum (2 of 2)


sometimes US Atheneum

/ (ˌæθɪˈniːəm) /

  1. (in ancient Greece) a building sacred to the goddess Athena, esp the Athenian temple that served as a gathering place for the learned

  2. (in imperial Rome) the academy of learning established near the Forum in about 135 ad by Hadrian

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