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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Now I use their old vivarium to rear owls in.
▪ The vivarium and aquarium soon followed, with parallel changes in fashion.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Vivarium \Vi*va"ri*um\, n.; pl. E. Vivariums, L. Vivaria. [L., fr. vivarius belonging to living creatures, fr. vivus alive, living. See Vivid.] A place artificially arranged for keeping or raising living animals, as a park, a pond, an aquarium, a warren, etc.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1600, "game park," from Latin vivarium "enclosure for live game, park, warren, preserve, fish pond," noun use of neuter singular of vivarius "pertaining to living creatures," from vivus "alive, living" (see vivid). Meaning "glass bowl for studying living creatures" is from 1853.


n. A place artificially arranged for keeping or raise living animals.

  1. n. an indoor enclosure for keeping and raising living animals and plants and observing them under natural conditions

  2. [also: vivaria (pl)]


A vivarium (Latin, literally for "place of life"; plural: vivaria or vivariums) is an area, usually enclosed, for keeping and raising animals or plants for observation or research. Often, a portion of the ecosystem for a particular species is simulated on a smaller scale, with controls for environmental conditions.

A vivarium may be small enough to sit on a desk or table, such as a terrarium or an aquarium, or may be a very large structure, possibly outdoors. Large vivaria, particularly those holding organisms capable of flight, typically include some sort of a dual-door mechanism such as a sally port for entry and exit, so that the outer door can be closed to prevent escape before the inner door is opened.

In modern literature, the word was not heavily used until a publication called "Vivarium", the first of its kind, was created by Phillipe De Vosjoli in San Diego, California to share information about the keeping of reptiles, amphibians and other terrestrial animals in captivity.

Vivarium (Rome)

The Vivarium was the location where the ancient Romans kept wild animals used in their entertainments. It was near the Prenestina Gate of Rome. During the first siege of Rome in the Gothic Wars, the Goths broke part of the wall of the Vivarium in an attempt to enter the city. This attempt failed because the regular city wall manned by Byzantine soldiers was behind the Vivarium wall and Belisarius attacked the rear of the Goths near the Prenestina Gate.

According to the writer Charlotte Anne Eaton, a second, smaller vivarium was located near the Colosseum and was connected to it via a low vaulted passage. This vivarium was located below the convent of St. John and St. Paul on the Cœlian Mount. This vivarium was a practical necessity because of the considerable distance between the Vivarium by Porta Maggiore and the Colosseum.

Vivarium (disambiguation)

Vivarium may refer to:

  • Vivarium, an enclosed area for keeping and raising animals
  • The monastery of Vivarium, founded by Cassiodorus
  • Vivarium (Rome), the location in ancient Rome where wild animals were kept
  • Vivarium Inc., the Japanese video game company
  • Vivarium (album), the album by the rock band Twin Atlantic
Vivarium (EP)

Vivarium is the debut album by the Scottish alternative rock band Twin Atlantic.

Music videos for "What Is Light? Where Is Laughter?" and "Lightspeed" were filmed during their American tour and have since been uploaded through their MySpace and PureVolume pages.

Usage examples of "vivarium".

The two were ostensibly engaged in checking the mechanical adequacy of the refrigerated vivaria.

You, Agia, and I came out of that great, glass vivarium, and you hired a boat to take us from the island to the shore, and the river was full of nenuphars with blue flowers and shining green leaves.

Vivarium evidently kept us from nulling, or even moving on grav drive, until it leaped.

He had ambitions to restock its basement vivaria with a private collection of captured animals, prime amongst which would be the preadult hamadryad he had yet to catch.

I gathered that the Muls to whom I spoke, who seemed well enough disposed towards me, simply did not know what was meant, in spite of the fact that several of them had been bred in the Nest, in the breeding cases located in certain special vivaria set aside for the purpose.

If ever I, though a Roman bred and born, come to be tried, pray Jupiter there may be either no beasts in the vivaria, or plenty of criminals in the gaol.

Turning around, Lark saw that the glass wallsstretching from floor to a high ceiling-made up giant vivariums holding row after row of wriggling, squirming things.