atri·​um | \ ˈā-trē-əm How to pronounce atrium (audio) \
plural atria\ ˈā-​trē-​ə How to pronounce atria (audio) \ also atriums

Definition of atrium

1 : the central room of a Roman house
2 plural usually atriums
a : a rectangular open patio around which a house is built
b : a many-storied court in a building (such as a hotel) usually with a skylight
3 [New Latin, from Latin] : an anatomical cavity or passage especially : the chamber or either of the chambers of the heart that receives blood from the veins and forces it into the ventricle or ventricles — see heart illustration

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Other Words from atrium

atrial \ ˈā-​trē-​əl How to pronounce atrial (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

In an ancient Roman house, an atrium was an open central court that contained the impluvium, a basin where rainwater collected. It originally contained the hearth and functioned as the center of family life. The term later came to be used for the open front courtyard of a Christian basilica, where congregants collected before services. The atrium was revived in the 20th century in the form of glass-covered, greenery-filled multistory spaces sometimes found in shopping centers, office buildings, and large hotels.

Examples of atrium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Roastery's 56-foot steel cask, which holds and transfers beans, runs straight up the middle of the building's glass atrium as long, thin, winding rods transport coffee to each of the bars throughout the rectangular structure. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, "World's largest Starbucks opens Friday in Chicago. What to know about the Reserve Roastery," 13 Nov. 2019 The striking Mexican modernist residence of roughly 26,000 square feet includes a circular atrium, a dining room topped with a pyramid-like ceiling and a 30-foot-high family room with hydraulic doors. Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property Newsletter: No time like the present for luxury real estate deals," 12 Oct. 2019 Also on board are Princess mainstays like The Piazza atrium, adults-only retreat The Sanctuary, Lotus Spa and Fitness Center, Movies Under the Stars and Broadway-style productions in the Princess Theater. Richard Tribou,, "New cruise ships about to call Florida home," 9 Oct. 2019 In the Cleveland Cliffs entrance of the northeast atrium there is a dedicated area with stand-up tables. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Crowd flow expected to improve in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse," 27 Sep. 2019 The three-story Brookfield Properties project features 725,000 square feet of retail space, three atriums, a bowling alley, and a top-level garden. Amanda Blanco,, "Take a peek inside the SoNo Collection, a new luxury mall in South Norwalk that is set to open on Oct. 11," 24 Sep. 2019 The pass-through that leads from the main atrium, designed in 2003, to the new section was previously underused., "The question is key to how the Peabody Essex Museum leadership approached the new space — always with an eye toward not just what they wanted to showcase but how visitors can best engage with the exhibits.," 14 Sep. 2019 Then in 2017 it was moved into the new atrium, which was part of the 190,000-square-foot addition. Tim Bannon,, "10 things to know about the United Center at 25 years, including when LeBron James settled a bet and the debut concert that tanked," 17 Aug. 2019 It was built from 1983 to 1985, and the entire campus is 18 acres and includes a cafeteria and atrium. Anchorage Daily News, "BP is leaving Alaska. So what’s going to happen to its big office building in Midtown Anchorage?," 6 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atrium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of atrium

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for atrium


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Time Traveler for atrium

Time Traveler

The first known use of atrium was in 1577

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Statistics for atrium

Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Atrium.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for atrium


How to pronounce atrium (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of atrium

: an open area inside a tall building that has windows to let light in from above
technical : one of two sections of the heart that take in blood from the veins


atri·​um | \ ˈā-trē-əm How to pronounce atrium (audio) \

Kids Definition of atrium

: the part of the heart that receives blood from the veins


atri·​um | \ ˈā-trē-əm How to pronounce atrium (audio) \
plural atria\ -​trē-​ə How to pronounce atria (audio) \ also atriums

Medical Definition of atrium

: an anatomical cavity or passage especially : a chamber of the heart that receives blood from the veins and forces it into a ventricle or ventricles

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More from Merriam-Webster on atrium

Spanish Central: Translation of atrium

Nglish: Translation of atrium for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atrium for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about atrium

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