• synonyms


or ath·e·ne·um

[ath-uh-nee-uh m, -ney-]
See more synonyms for athenaeum on Thesaurus.com
  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 atheneum

study, athenaeum, atheneum, bibliotheca

Examples from the Web for atheneum

Historical Examples of atheneum

  • The trustees finally took the lead in the establishment of a public library into which the collection of the Atheneum was merged.

    Historic Towns of the Western States


  • In fact most of our knowledge of the founder of the Atheneum comes more from memories and traditions than from exact data.

  • Here at the Atheneum they have the very sign-board that attracted the traveler to "Putnam's Hotel."

  • Doubtless this served to swell the crowd when the convention met at night in the Atheneum.

  • The strange experiences of his visit in October 1879 are duly recorded in the Atheneum of the following January.

British Dictionary definitions for atheneum


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 atheneum



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