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[kuh n-sur-vuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]
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noun, plural con·serv·a·to·ries.
  1. a school giving instruction in one or more of the fine or dramatic arts; specifically, a school of music.
  2. a greenhouse, usually attached to a dwelling, for growing and displaying plants.
  3. Archaic. a place where things are preserved.
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  1. serving or adapted to conserve; preservative.
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Origin of conservatory

1555–65; < Latin conservā(re) (see conserve) + -tory2; in the sense “music school” < French or Italian; see conservatoire
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

nursery, glasshouse

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British Dictionary definitions for conservatory


noun plural -tories
  1. a greenhouse, esp one attached to a house
  2. another word for conservatoire
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  1. preservative
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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 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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper