ter·​rar·​i·​um | \ tə-ˈrer-ē-əm How to pronounce terrarium (audio) \
plural terraria\ tə-​ˈrer-​ē-​ə How to pronounce terraria (audio) \ or terrariums

Definition of terrarium

: a usually transparent enclosure for keeping or raising plants or usually small animals (such as turtles) indoors

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A Terrarium at the Zoo

The turtle exhibit at a zoo is often in the form of a terrarium, as are some of the exhibits at a plant conservatory. In an ant terrarium, elementary-school students watch the ants dig their network of tunnels as if no one were watching. Terrariums try to create conditions as close as possible to a natural habitat. A covered terrarium can often sustain itself for months on the moisture trapped inside. But creating a good terrarium requires careful control not only of humidity but also of temperature, as well as good ventilation; the lighting should include the full spectrum of sunlight as well as a day-night regulator.

Examples of terrarium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The setting is quietly wondrous, and green as a terrarium: Otis and his mom, Jean (Gillian Anderson), live on a lushly verdant riverside bluff in a Victorian house, like Villa Villekula with a view. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "“Sex Education,” Season 2: The Doctor Is In," 18 Jan. 2020 On Wednesday night, Shea led a group through creating succulent terrariums at Counter Weight Brewery Co. in Hamden. Kalia Kornegay, courant.com, "Meet the Middletown ‘plant coach’ whose new business helps people become more comfortable with the plant world," 24 Oct. 2019 Some are open while others are more terrarium-like. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "What to gift a gardener? Funny you should ask.," 6 Dec. 2019 This San Francisco favorite has a multitude of terrariums and tillandsias to satisfy any desire … to fill your home and patio with air plants. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "6 Bay Area favorites for air plant shopping," 25 July 2019 Instead, power consolidated the whole thing down to, in the terrarium-like industry capital of New York, the most prestigious, and therefore credentialed, and therefore respectful-of-power publications. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "The Death of the Rude Press," 7 Nov. 2019 The most unique thing about Eliana’s van build, though, is her custom snake terrarium. Taylor Lorenz, Outside Online, "Jennelle Eliana's Rise to Vanlife Stardom," 7 Sep. 2019 Chyrstal Kennedy, who will give a tour of her private collection of succulents and assist in building personalized air terrariums. Anchorage Daily News, "Fun things this week: Elle King at the state fair, Queen sing-along and reptiles for the whole family," 29 Aug. 2019 The spiky plants adorn hanging glass terrariums, pop up on shelvies and cling to decorative hunks of wood. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "6 things they never told us about growing air plants in the Bay Area," 25 July 2019

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

1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for terrarium

New Latin, from Latin terra + -arium (as in vivarium)

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Time Traveler for terrarium

Time Traveler

The first known use of terrarium was in 1890

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Statistics for terrarium

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terrarium.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrarium. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for terrarium


How to pronounce terrarium (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of terrarium

: a glass or plastic box that is used for growing plants or keeping small animals indoors


ter·​rar·​i·​um | \ tə-ˈrer-ē-əm How to pronounce terrarium (audio) \
plural terraria\ -​ē-​ə \ or terrariums

Kids Definition of terrarium

: a usually glass container used for keeping plants or small animals (as turtles) indoors

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Comments on terrarium

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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