See also: hot-house


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1836 Kew garden hothouse


From Middle English hothous, equivalent to hot +‎ house.

Alternative formsEdit


hothouse (plural hothouses)

  1. A heated greenhouse.
  2. (figuratively) An environment in which growth or development is encouraged naturally or artificially; a hotbed.
    • 1989, H. T. Willetts (translator), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (author), August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, →ISBN, page 163:
      This had given him the strength to leave cadet school at seventeen and volunteer for active service, reach the rank of second lieutenant no later than his hothouse-bred contemporaries, begin his military studies in the General Staff Academy itself, and, still only twenty-five, graduate not only with top marks but with promotion out of turn for special excellence in military science.
    • 1989, H. T. Willetts (translator), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (author), August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, →ISBN, page 182:
      In 1906 and 1907 defeat was not yet total, society was still on the boil, spinning around the rim of the maelstrom. Lenin had sat in Kuokkala, waiting in vain for the second wave. But from 1908, when the reactionary rabble had tightened its grip on the whole of Russia, the underground had shriveled to nothing, the workers had swarmed like ants out of their holes and into legal bodies—trade unions and insurance associations—and the decline of the underground had sapped the vitality of the emigration too, reduced it to a hothouse existence. Back there was the Duma, a legal press—and every émigré was eager to publish there.
  3. (obsolete) A bagnio, or bathing house; a brothel.
  4. A heated room for drying greenware.
  5. (climatology) A hot state in global climate.
    Synonym: greenhouse
    Antonym: icehouse

Derived termsEdit



hothouse (third-person singular simple present hothouses, present participle hothousing, simple past and past participle hothoused)

  1. (transitive) To provide (a child) with an enriched environment with the aim of stimulating academic development.
    • 2019, Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other, Penguin Books (2020), page 245:
      she had such an exceptional grasp of maths in her first two years at the school theyʼd been hothousing her to sit her GCSE Maths two years early

See alsoEdit