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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Stand in the lobby, however, and you are confronted with the large inner atrium, whose glass ceiling and floor echo the Reichstag dome. A.j. Goldmann, WSJ, "Abroad at Home: Exploring Berlin’s Best," 24 Apr. 2021 People would meander their way through the crowded floor to view hundreds of works of art displayed in the atrium. Emily Mesner, Anchorage Daily News, "Annual showcase of Anchorage student art goes on — projected onto buildings," 18 Mar. 2021 Tickets have to be purchased online, as part of a new digital ticketing system that allows visitors to scan pre-purchased tickets at stations inside the museum’s main atrium. cleveland, "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reopens with laid back, socially distanced vibe," 15 June 2020 The chalet at Benelux, 346 N. Broadway, is a heated atrium that gives up to 10 diners views of downtown; everyone in the group must be 21 or older. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cafe Benelux adds to its outdoor dining with a rooftop chalet," 10 Mar. 2021 The heart of this home is a two-story atrium with a scissor staircase. Lia Picard, WSJ, "Once an ‘Out-of-Fad’ Style, Atriums Again See The Light of Day," 9 Mar. 2021 Inside, the waiting room was a three-story atrium topped by a glass ceiling. Julie Washington, cleveland, "What it was like to be a Cleveland Clinic patient 100 years ago: a look back as Clinic celebrates its centennial," 24 Feb. 2021 Visitors passing through the public atrium of University College London’s Student Centre will now be greeted by a man in a glass case. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "English Philosopher’s Dressed-Up Skeleton Goes on View in New Glass Display," 5 Mar. 2020 The north pavilion is extroverted, and is organized around a bright atrium that rises the full height of the building, bringing light down even into the bookstacks below ground level. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, "Like an Open Book," 31 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of atrium

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for atrium


Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about atrium

Statistics for atrium

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Atrium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on atrium

What made you want to look up atrium? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!