ter·​rar·​i·​um tə-ˈrer-ē-əm How to pronounce terrarium (audio)
plural terraria tə-ˈrer-ē-ə How to pronounce terrarium (audio) or terrariums
: 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 Glass walls, lush greenery and midcentury decor give the airy dining room the feeling of a mod terrarium, while the tropical back bar offers a secret garden escape. Usa Today Network, USA TODAY, 15 Feb. 2024 Twenty-six spiders of different species that Ward kept in terrariums were also removed from the home. Amanda Musa, CNN, 21 Feb. 2024 In addition to the re-homing activities, a mini terrarium workshop will be hosted by Easy Little Plants, a shop in Olney. Susan Soldavin, Baltimore Sun, 15 Feb. 2024 Meanwhile, kids can get crafty decorating a $10 Melissa & Doug jewelry box or making their own mini terrarium. Chaunie Brusie, Rn, Parents, 9 Feb. 2024 Polka dot plant does best with high humidity so try it in a terrarium or brightly-lit bathroom. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Oct. 2023 Then then asked the students to approach the spider, reach their fingers into its terrarium, put the palm of their hands on the floor of the terrarium, let the spider crawl over their hands, and eventually hold it outside of its cage. IEEE Spectrum, 15 Feb. 2023 Or, give your succulent an alternative home in a terrarium. Jessica Swannie, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Best Portable Humidifier Moss Air Humidifier A chic terrarium with smart wellness benefits for your home. Danielle Directo-Meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 30 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of terrarium was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near terrarium

Cite this Entry

“Terrarium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrarium. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ter·​rar·​i·​um tə-ˈrar-ē-əm How to pronounce terrarium (audio)
plural terraria
or terrariums
: a transparent enclosure used for keeping and observing small animals and plants indoors
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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