hot·​house | \ˈhät-ˌhau̇s \

Definition of hothouse 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 obsolete : bordello

2 : a greenhouse maintained at a high temperature especially for the culture of tropical plants



Definition of hothouse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : grown in a hothouse

2 : suggestive of growth and development in a hothouse a hothouse existence also : suggesting a hothouse a hothouse atmosphere

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Synonyms for hothouse

Synonyms: Noun

conservatory, glasshouse [chiefly British], greenhouse

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Examples of hothouse in a Sentence


grows tomatoes in his hothouse all winter long an urban enclave of bohemians that acquired a reputation for being a hothouse of creativity

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Based on its past history, a hothouse state would seemingly be one possibility. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers suggest we could tip into a hothouse Earth—here’s what that means," 10 Aug. 2018 Into this hothouse stumbled the unsuspecting Justine Sacco. Jon Ronson, Town & Country, "Trial By Hashtag," 13 Feb. 2015 The chances, in the hothouse environment Trump has created, that something will go wrong — that signals will get crossed and someone will get killed at the border — are also very real. David Roberts, Vox, "The caravan “invasion” and America’s epistemic crisis," 2 Nov. 2018 Too many antibiotics had created a hothouse of antibiotic-resistant bugs, and the dogs carried them to three towns... and counting. Verge Staff, The Verge, "Seven scary stories to tell by the light of your screen," 31 Oct. 2018 The charm could be disarming, a way of making the sometimes unpleasant hothouse of American government and politics more, well, fun. Laurie Kellman, The Seattle Times, "McCain had a ‘wicked’ wit that he often aimed at himself," 27 Aug. 2018 The planet hasn't seen hothouse conditions for more than 2.5 million years. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers suggest we could tip into a hothouse Earth—here’s what that means," 10 Aug. 2018 Though Venus' surface has gone hellish hothouse, the environment a few dozen miles high in the skies is pretty benign, Grinspoon and others have stressed. Mike Wall,, "Life on Venus? Why It's Not an Absurd Thought," 16 Apr. 2018 Two decades later, Christian Dior envisioned women as hothouse flowers, with narrow, stem-like torsos blooming into dramatically full skirts. Susan Delson, WSJ, "Fashion’s Glorification—and Devastation—of Nature," 20 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

These fragile and artificial economies require hothouse conditions that a weakened OPEC can no longer provide. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Fracking Our Way to Mideast Peace," 11 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hothouse.' 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 hothouse


1556, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for hothouse

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hothouse

The first known use of hothouse was in 1556

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More Definitions for hothouse



English Language Learners Definition of hothouse

: a heated building used for growing plants


hot·​house | \ˈhät-ˌhau̇s \

Kids Definition of hothouse

: a heated building enclosed by glass for growing plants

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More from Merriam-Webster on hothouse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hothouse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hothouse

Spanish Central: Translation of hothouse

Nglish: Translation of hothouse for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about hothouse

Comments on hothouse

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


a nest or breeding place

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