atri·um | \ ˈā-trē-əm \
plural atria\-trē-ə \ 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 \-trē-əl \ 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

Designed for an artist, the atrium-like residence offers ample space for work, the display of objects, and, of course, rest and relaxation, while full-height windows frame water and lush woodland views. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Modern cabin made from reclaimed materials frames lush forest views," 15 Mar. 2018 Go to the Museum of Modern Art, that bloody atrium is a nightmare. Carl Swanson, Daily Intelligencer, "A Stage Full of Starchitects Debates the State of the Industry," 11 Feb. 2018 Garp & Fuss looks a little difference, but the loveliness — especially in the atrium — remains. Lauren Delgado,, "Garp & Fuss: Murky menu, lovely location," 6 July 2018 The exotic three-story, built in 1987, features a recording studio, a movie theater, an indoor spa and a central atrium with cascading waterfalls and a retractable glass roof. Neal J. Leitereg And Lauren Beale,, "Hot Property Newsletter: Music makes the world go round," 9 June 2018 The building will contain 754,000 square feet of office space and a two-level atrium with 26,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Skanska sets final beam atop 35-story Capitol Tower," 5 Apr. 2018 The new campus will feature a 10,000-square-foot atrium with six food stations a grove of inside trees for shading. Roger Showley,, "Office creativity: Hammocks, slides, operable windows, rooftop bars — but 'clean desks' and private offices are returning," 17 Feb. 2018 Managed by AEG Facilities, the arena in Minneapolis’ downtown entertainment district now features a new two-story atrium facing downtown and a new 500-capacity VIP Lexus Club. Thom Duffy, Billboard, "The 20 Freshest (And Refreshed) Venues To Watch In 2018," 16 Feb. 2018 The protest took place in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. CBS News, "Susan Sarandon arrested at anti-Trump rally," 29 June 2018

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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Statistics for atrium

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for atrium

The first known use of atrium was in 1577

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More Definitions for atrium



English Language Learners Definition of atrium

: an open area inside a tall building that has windows to let light in from above

: one of two sections of the heart that take in blood from the veins


atri·um | \ ˈā-trē-əm \

Kids Definition of atrium

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


atri·um | \ ˈā-trē-əm \
plural atria\-trē-ə \ 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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