atri·​um | \ ˈā-trē-əm How to pronounce atrium (audio) \
plural atria\ ˈā-​trē-​ə How to pronounce atrium (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 atrium (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 For a blast of fresh air and abstract love, enter the atrium at the Brooklyn Museum. Vulture Editors, Vulture, "25 Notable New Releases Over the Next Two Weeks," 4 Jan. 2021 The Temple Court building houses one of our most special features, a nine-story atrium that has really incredible architectural detail. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "The Best Room At ...," 26 Dec. 2020 London’s Royal Opera House removed his name from the building’s atrium, the Metropolitan Opera took his name off its grand tier and the Salzburg Festival in Austria stripped his picture from its programs. Larry Neumeister, ajc, "Lawyers seek relief for 'broken' convicted philanthropist," 25 Dec. 2020 Deputy House Speaker Robert Godfrey of Danbury said the State Armory, the XL Center, The Bushnell and the Legislative Office Building atrium have all been considered as possibilities for opening day. Christopher Keating,, "Connecticut legislature’s opening day could be held outdoors; State of the State Address potentially by Zoom," 17 Dec. 2020 The 2,600-square-foot home had three bedrooms, an atrium entry with vaulted ceilings and city and canyon views. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property newsletter: Celeb homeowners are shooting for the $tars," 12 Dec. 2020 Viewing the atrium decorations is free; prices for other activities vary. Shannon Sutlief, Dallas News, "Fun things to do this month in Dallas-Fort Worth — online, outdoors and more," 26 Nov. 2020 Set between glass vestibules in the new atrium, the black sculpture evokes an oversized child’s inflatable toy faintly reminiscent of Mickey Mouse, striding forward with arms extended, as if guarding in a basketball game. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cavaliers appoint globally respected artist Daniel Arsham as creative director, hoping to create larger cultural footprint," 17 Nov. 2020 An atrium, with skylight, serves as the entry to the main home, which is a striking mix of massive windows, tall ceilings, polished concrete floors, wood finishes and stone fireplaces. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Mountain compound of Slash Records founder Bob Biggs lists for $2 million," 4 Dec. 2020

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

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Atrium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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 atrium (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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