hy·​po·​caust ˈhī-pə-ˌkȯst How to pronounce hypocaust (audio)
: an ancient Roman central heating system with underground furnace and tile flues to distribute the heat

Examples of hypocaust in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The bathhouse is preserved in parts to a height of around 6.5 feet and contains a heated room known as a hypocaust. Anna Walas, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 July 2023 One of the first systems of central heating – called a hypocaust – is known from the Temple at Ephesus, constructed around 350 B.C. Historians credit Sergius Orata for improving the Greek’s early tech. Sean Mowbray, Discover Magazine, 13 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hypocaust.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin hypocaustum, from Greek hypokauston, from hypokaiein to light a fire under, from hypo- + kaiein to burn

First Known Use

1678, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hypocaust was in 1678

Dictionary Entries Near hypocaust

Cite this Entry

“Hypocaust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocaust. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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