• synonyms


or ath·e·ne·um

[ath-uh-nee-uh m, -ney-]
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  1. an institution for the promotion of literary or scientific learning.
  2. a library or reading room.
  3. (initial capital letter) a sanctuary of Athena at Athens, built by the Roman emperor Hadrian, and frequented by poets and scholars.
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Origin of athenaeum

1720–30; < Latin < Greek Athḗnaion temple of Athena, where poets read their works
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for athenaeum

repository, office, museum, storage, library, treasury, vault, athenaeum, registry, study, atheneum, bibliotheca

Examples from the Web for athenaeum

Historical Examples of athenaeum

  • This piece, with the exception of a few lines, has appeared in the Athenaeum.


    Matilda Betham

  • If you should hear who writes in the "Athenaeum" I wish you would tell me.

  • I have been compelled to take in the "Athenaeum" for a while.

  • We went off to the Athenaeum which is well stored with books.

  • In the neighborhood of the Athenaeum, the cab paused, and Mike got out.

    Venus in Boston;

    George Thompson

British Dictionary definitions for athenaeum


US atheneum

  1. an institution for the promotion of learning
  2. a building containing a reading room or library, esp one used by such an institution
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Word Origin for athenaeum

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


sometimes US Atheneum

  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
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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 athenaeum



1727, from Latinized form of Greek Athenaion "(the temple of) Athene," in ancient Athens, in which professors taught and actors or poets rehearsed. Meaning "literary club-room or reading room" is from 1799; "literary or scientific club" is from 1864.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper