Definition of hothouse in US English:



  • 1A heated building, typically made largely of glass, for rearing plants out of season or in a climate colder than is natural for them.

    • ‘I dream of rain, falling on everything, the dripping, peeling runnels of all gardens, from the grey sky through glass and hothouse, in the sowed order of this elder's place.’
    • ‘These so-called cluster tomatoes are cultured in hothouses for sale during seasons when field-grown crops aren't available.’
    • ‘Specimens from all over Arkon are cultivated here, and those plants whose preferred climate does not fit that of the lands surrounding the Academy are housed in hothouses.’
    • ‘But since they must endure the stress of forced bloom and off-season transplanting, they need special handling to make the transition from hothouse to garden.’
    • ‘It has 288 acres of magnificent plants and glorious trees, plus hothouses, laboratories, and four museums.’
    • ‘But if you've never grown orchids before, you may wonder: Can you grow these hothouse beauties without a greenhouse?’
    • ‘That will add huge costs for those operators who are involved in building prefabricated buildings, barns, bridges, glasshouses, and hothouses.’
    • ‘Several of the plants have been stolen from Berlin's hothouses - the world's second largest - along with dozens of other species of exotic plants.’
    • ‘Cockatiels certainly do not need hothouse conditions to breed.’
    • ‘There are plans for deep-freeze capsules carrying medicines or human organs for transplants and even heated ones for hothouse plants or food.’
    • ‘Careful, many of the miniatures sold at florists or checkouts around the country are hothouse plants that won't take any cold at all; make sure to ask.’
    • ‘Given the financial commitment involved, it's important to get it right - it could mean the difference between a pokey hothouse or a cold, dark space and a bright, year-round sunroom.’
    • ‘When Darwin received some new plants for the hothouse, he wrote to a friend that he and Henrietta ‘go & gloat over them.’’
    • ‘The White House is both a hothouse and a graveyard for professional loyalty.’
    • ‘The stand was created to bring nature indoors, and one might draw a parallel between a hothouse plant and a landscape painting - each is an aspect of commodified nature.’
    • ‘As a response to the historic site and context, to the requirements of modern hothouses and to climate, it is both sophisticated and thoughtful.’
    • ‘Europeans, meanwhile, were captivated by the fruit and had tried to grow it in their hothouses, with varying success.’
    • ‘We are talking of thousands of square kilometres of hothouses, factories and packing plants.’
    • ‘The central glasshouse had two lean-to hothouses, one dry for cacti, the other humid for tropical plants.’
    • ‘They live in a small hothouse - filled with plants - that is supposed to simulate a rain forest.’
    greenhouse, glasshouse, conservatory, orangery, vinery, alpine house, winter garden
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    1. 1.1 An environment that encourages rapid growth or development, especially in a stifling or intense way.
      as modifier ‘the hothouse atmosphere of the college’
      • ‘The team Eriksson is building was always likely to bloom a few years hence rather than in the hothouse of this Asian summer.’
      • ‘The best-known alumni of this talent hothouse are Formula One drivers Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien and Timo Glock.’
      • ‘But the flattery of imitation soon gave way to the condescension of tourists, as all Italy itself was already on the way to becoming a hothouse and museum.’
      • ‘My school was a thrusting hothouse of academic achievement.’
      • ‘When Kierkegaard was twenty-two years old, he made his first foray into this literary hothouse.’
      • ‘Students were not potted plants to be watered in some academic hothouse, nor were they to be subjects of academic experiments.’
      • ‘The science and technology hothouse is built on land that was once part of RAF Martlesham Heath.’
      • ‘The preparation of international rugby teams is becoming a hothouse breeding mutant plants.’
      • ‘In our culture, work of this kind sometimes seems a form of diminishment, either a taking away of the illusions of the past or a hothouse re-creation of them.’
      • ‘Edmonton's own DIY movie hothouse presents the fruits of its labours.’
      • ‘Senior faculty scour the world for young researchers, graduate students, and postdoctoral candidates who might thrive in this cross-disciplinary hothouse.’
      • ‘In this Bohemian hothouse, our quirks and foibles flourished unchecked.’
      • ‘The Second World War was a hothouse for technological advance, the military having to innovate to survive; it produced advances in jet engines, radar, and computing, to cite three examples.’
      • ‘But the structure is characteristically tight and Rattigan captures particularly well the hothouse insularity of the Mayfair set who regard Manchester as a foreign city on which the sun never rises.’
      • ‘Groton Labs isn't some academic hothouse where a few eggheads are allowed to toil fruitlessly forever.’
      • ‘During their respective seasons, the national capitals, county towns, and resorts were hothouses of competition, as the company, dressed to the nines, jockeyed with each other for the last ounce of prestige.’
      • ‘Surely there is a point where in-house becomes hothouse.’
      • ‘It's a kind of hothouse testing ground for talent, where you might find writers taking a turn at singing, wrestlers reading poetry, or comedians playing jazz guitar.’
      • ‘This attitude toward violence was no different from that in England, except in that urban hothouse of London.’
      • ‘Jimmy was sent to his father's old school, the intellectual hothouse of Winchester, where he was driven by the need to restore the family fortune.’
      intense, oppressive, stifling
      View synonyms


[with object]
  • Educate (a child) to a high level at an earlier age than is usual.

    • ‘‘You can take it all a bit too seriously, get into hothousing and learn the sign for every single word,’ she says.’
    • ‘Her five year old so doesn't want to be hothoused and forced into hateful activity after hateful activity.’
    • ‘She would become quite animated on the subject of early education for preschoolers - ‘absurd’ - or if encountering a real atrocity such as hothousing: ‘bloody absurd’.’
    • ‘We offer tangible value to the individuals behind the idea and then, by hothousing the concept, we offer investors a very sound proposition indeed.’
    • ‘They are common throughout China, but many Westerners consider their hothousing of developing child athletes as cruel.’
    • ‘Maradia is not the product of an expensive private school or aspiring middle class parents who hope to hothouse her into academic brilliance.’
    • ‘‘My programme is the opposite of hothousing,’ she insists.’
    • ‘And, even among the 2% of children who are naturally ‘gifted’, there's little evidence hothousing does any good.’
    • ‘His is not a story of hothousing a talent through academies from early boyhood.’
    • ‘I am not saying that my parents hothoused us; far from it.’
    • ‘The Irishman sitting between Scottie Brown and Kevin Thomson would positively hothouse the development of these two superb prospects, and Keane will have that effect on Celtic's youngsters.’
    • ‘The former Scottish national tennis coach has launched an online guide to the pitfalls of hothousing sporting prodigies.’
    • ‘The mother of Andy Murray, Britain's teenage tennis sensation, has produced a guide to the pitfalls of being a ‘pushy parent’ when hothousing a sporting prodigy.’