Definition of atrium in English:


nounPlural atriums, Plural atria

  • 1Architecture
    An open-roofed entrance hall or central court in an ancient Roman house.

    • ‘The rich lived in single-storey houses which were built around a central hall known as an atrium.’
    • ‘The origin of this design may be the Roman atrium.’
    • ‘With a fountain trickling in the atrium, and the different parts of the house going off from the center, it was grander than what any merchant in Greece had.’
    • ‘The sequence of these spaces in the palace suggests the atrium and peristyle of Roman houses, basic features of domestic architecture emphasized by the Roman writer Vitruvius.’
    • ‘The open courtyard, with its surrounding arcades, is clearly descended from the cloister, itself another Roman type that goes back to the atria of the houses of the rich.’
    • ‘The rich had large, gracious homes, each with an entrance atrium, like the family room.’
    entrance hall, hallway, entry, entrance, lobby, foyer, vestibule, reception area, concourse
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A central hall in a modern building, typically rising through several stories and having a glazed roof.
      • ‘This will be quite a modern building with a balconied atrium inside.’
      • ‘The Sefton Hotel is built around a central atrium that houses an indoor water garden.’
      • ‘Around the central atrium on the main level are five major spaces: a reception room, library, dining room, billiard room, and ballroom.’
      • ‘The building is a nine-story high-tech building with an atrium that filters light into a narrow space.’
      • ‘The headquarters is arranged as six four-storey office pavilions linked by an internal street, an elongated atrium with a glass roof.’
      • ‘A central atrium provides the main pedestrian entrance to the apartments and in turn leads to the internal courtyard, which is at first floor level.’
      • ‘It would consist of two inter-related buildings linked by a two-storey glazed central atrium.’
      • ‘Apart from fulfilling his need for a garden and outdoor space, this red brick walled and paved two-storey area also provides an invaluable atrium through which light enters both floors of the house.’
      • ‘Central to the new building is the two-story atrium, with a north-facing glass wall, where patrons first enter to purchase their tickets.’
      • ‘The building's triangular plan encircles a central atrium that works as a ‘natural ventilation chimney.’’
      • ‘The larger areas, the reception, pub, and dining room, have been repositioned around a central atrium, as have the smaller offices.’
      • ‘A central atrium is the focal point of the building.’
      • ‘Inside the building's three-story atrium one enjoys views of translucent walkways leading to the offices and to a restaurant.’
      • ‘This form, upon which our modern atria are based, was enclosed on all sides by buildings with roofs sloping to a columned peristyle or walkway around a courtyard.’
      • ‘A long toplit atrium links two principal entrances and provides a central welcoming area around which the classrooms and main community facilities are arranged.’
      • ‘The central atrium of the High Museum of Art, designed by Richard Meier, is once again filled with light from the skylight above.’
      • ‘The big curved glass roofs cover atria full of olive and mulberry trees that are overlooked from individual workplaces.’
      • ‘The gallery is approached across a voluminous, rather airport-like atrium that also houses the company's canteen.’
      • ‘A pleasing blend of cream-coloured cladding, monolithic steel and glass atriums, Rowan House is based around a single, central thoroughfare, topped by a massive glass roof.’
      • ‘Two three-storey blocks of offices flank a central glazed atrium.’
      • ‘Between the two buildings is a glass atrium that unites them and that plays a prominent role in the energy operations of the library.’
      • ‘Outline plans were submitted for a three-storey school built around a large atrium, with tennis courts and a sports hall included on the site.’
    2. 1.2 The forecourt of a large church built on the basilican plan.
      • ‘The scene shows Christ standing at the right preaching in the atrium of a church, with the redcloaked Magdalen standing alone to the left of the crowd, undergoing her conversion.’
      • ‘Sir Basil Spence, who designed Coventry Cathedral, oversaw the restoration, constructing a marble-floored atrium.’
  • 2Anatomy
    Each of the two upper cavities of the heart from which blood is passed to the ventricles. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the veins of the body, the left atrium oxygenated blood from the pulmonary vein.

    Also called auricle
    • ‘The right atrium and ventricle were severely dilated and hypertrophied.’
    • ‘The right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body.’
    • ‘Blood flows from the atria to the ventricles through a one-way valve.’
    • ‘In a person without a heart defect, blood that's in need of oxygen flows from all parts of the body to the right atrium and then to the right ventricle, where it's then pumped to the lungs to receive oxygen.’
    • ‘When the heart relaxes in between beats, the two ‘flaps’ of the mitral valve swing open to let blood flow from the atrium to the ventricle.’
    • ‘The left atrium of the heart receives oxygenated (oxygen-rich) blood from the lungs and then empties into the left ventricle through the mitral valve.’


Late 16th century: from Latin.