Definition of terrarium in US English:



  • 1A vivarium for smaller land animals, especially reptiles, amphibians, or terrestrial invertebrates, typically in the form of a glass-fronted case.

    • ‘He once conducted an informal experiment in a terrarium on his desk, in which he placed a mixture of stones, pebbles, sand, and a few desert beetles large enough to budge marble-size stones as they propelled themselves across the ground.’
    • ‘Set up a terrarium within a fish tank, gold fish bowl, yogurt container, or even a jam jar.’
    • ‘Gorb and colleagues discovered the tarantulas' silk-spinning abilities by examining glass plates scattered vertically in a tarantula terrarium.’
    • ‘There's still room for the indoor pond filled with koi that eat out of your hand, not to mention the 15 aquariums and terrariums housing all manner of fish and reptiles, from freshwater stingrays to a bearded dragon lizard named Rex.’
    • ‘We examined a captive animal in a terrarium, where I fed it samples of the plants that grow on the mounds.’
    • ‘You put a little of water in their terrarium, and you can put a log in there for them, and then feed them like some little bit of bread and Cheerios.’
    • ‘They had glass terrariums chock-full of big, exotic insects.’
    • ‘While iguanas can be hard to handle due to their large adult size, there are many other smaller species of lizards that, while requiring significant care, are much more suited to life in a home terrarium.’
    • ‘Another time he left the terrarium with five absolutely deadly snakes open, next time he got bitten from one.’
    • ‘Visitors to his home always saw an aquarium, usually with an octopus and several exotic fish and often a terrarium.’
    • ‘In downtown L. A. there are tons of street vendors who sell little turtles in tiny plastic terrariums for $2 or $3 each.’
    • ‘In the laboratory the spiders were housed individually in plastic terraria.’
    • ‘The terrarium doesn't appear to be heated, and it may be getting too much light.’
    • ‘These experiments were performed at 25 0.5°C in glass terraria devoid of shelter to permit the rapid capture of prey.’
    • ‘He's been fascinated with these creatures since childhood and now shares his bedroom with six of them in a large terrarium.’
    • ‘I bought a terrarium and filled it with anything I could find in my surrounding environment.’
    • ‘Carlos crosses the beach with the cobra twisting in his arms, folds him into his terrarium, seals the lid, and breathes.’
    • ‘She crammed the wad under a glass terrarium with a large, green turtle in it, who strained his neck so as not to miss anything.’
    • ‘Males were kept together in a terrarium (70 x 30 cm, height 30 cm) until September, with ad libitum food and water.’
    • ‘Or there's the time we kept a huge golden-spotted salamander successfully in a terrarium for a whole year, or the summer we watched as a huge spider rebuilt a beautiful orb web in our upstairs bathroom window each night.’
    1. 1.1 A sealed transparent globe or similar container in which plants are grown.
      • ‘The terraria were placed outdoors among natural vegetation.’
      • ‘Place it in a terrarium or a jar with the plant it feeds on (if you aren't sure what this is, check a field guide).’
      • ‘Lily-filled terrariums line the walls of the lab's rearing room.’
      • ‘The plants were beautiful, organic masterpieces of life, but still the terrariums were poor mockeries of the verdant excesses outside.’
      • ‘When looking for what plants to put in your terrarium, first choose plants that love moisture and don't grow very large.’
      • ‘The first year Naviclas girls made terrariums with glass jars brought from home.’
      • ‘This clear terrarium, made from several different textured clear glasses, is an ideal way to grow small houseplants.’
      • ‘Hayes also included a small terrarium enclosed within a womb-shaped glass vessel, onto whose surface, magically enough, water gathers above the plants and rains down upon them.’
      • ‘He'd triple checked the plants in the terrariums and assigned a couple of servos to look after them.’
      • ‘Plants were placed in terraria in controlled-environment rooms programmed to simulate natural temperature cycles with smooth, sine-wave thermoperiods that lagged the photoperiod by 3 h.’
      • ‘Since they are also being used for fish tanks, terrariums, and room accents, you can usually find them really cheap in places like craft stores, instead of buying them as game pieces at top dollar by the tube.’
      • ‘One of the most common pairings for a terrarium are carnivorous plants and orchids.’


Late 19th century: modern Latin, from Latin terra ‘earth’, on the pattern of aquarium.