• synonyms


See more synonyms for hotbed on Thesaurus.com
  1. a bottomless, boxlike, usually glass-covered structure and the bed of earth it covers, heated typically by fermenting manure or electrical cables, for growing plants out of season.
  2. a place or environment favoring rapid growth or spread, especially of something disliked or unwanted: a hotbed of disease.
  3. Slang. a bed shared by two or more persons in shifts, each sleeping in it for or at a designated time and then vacating it for the next occupant.
Show More
verb (used without object), hot·bed·ded, hot·bed·ding.
  1. Slang. to share a bed in shifts, so that it is always occupied.
Show More

Origin of hotbed

First recorded in 1620–30; hot + bed
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for hotbed

headquarters, hotbed, heart, place, hub, sanctuary, nest, cave, kernel, essence, focus, seat, pivot, midst, axis, interior, core, gist, midpoint, nucleus

Examples from the Web for hotbed

Contemporary Examples of hotbed

Historical Examples of hotbed

  • Sects were springing up all over England as weeds in a hotbed.


    James Anthony Froude

  • If there is no greenhouse, a hotbed is an important help in the garden.

    Agriculture for Beginners

    Charles William Burkett

  • Industry—and the engineer is the backbone of industry—is a hotbed of competition.

  • It is a hotbed of heathen enthusiasm and of blinded devotion.

    A Tour of the Missions

    Augustus Hopkins Strong

  • A corrupt, unregenerate heart, which is a hotbed and nursery of the devil.


    J. W. Byers

British Dictionary definitions for hotbed


  1. a glass-covered bed of soil, usually heated by fermenting material, used for propagating plants, forcing early vegetables, etc
  2. a place offering ideal conditions for the growth of an idea, activity, etc, esp one considered bada hotbed of insurrection
Show More
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 hotbed


1620s, from hot + bed (n.); originally "bed of earth heated by fermenting manure for forcing growing plants;" generalized sense of "place that fosters rapid growth" is from 1768.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper