[kuh n-sur-vuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]

noun, plural con·serv·a·to·ries.

a school giving instruction in one or more of the fine or dramatic arts; specifically, a school of music.
a greenhouse, usually attached to a dwelling, for growing and displaying plants.
Archaic. a place where things are preserved.


serving or adapted to conserve; preservative.

Origin of conservatory

1555–65; < Latin conservā(re) (see conserve) + -tory2; in the sense “music school” < French or Italian; see conservatoire Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for conservatory

nursery, glasshouse

Examples from the Web for conservatory

Contemporary Examples of conservatory

Historical Examples of conservatory

British Dictionary definitions for conservatory


noun plural -tories

a greenhouse, esp one attached to a house
another word for conservatoire


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 conservatory

1560s, "preservative;" 1660s, "greenhouse," from stem of conservation + -ory. In sense "school for performing arts" it is recorded from 1842, from Italian conservatorio or French conservatoire, originally "hospital for foundlings in which musical education was given."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper