from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An institution, such as a literary club or scientific academy, for the promotion of learning.
  • noun A place, such as a library, where printed materials are available for reading.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An association for the advancement of learning, particularly in the fields of science or literature.
  • noun A building for storing books or newspapers; a library, reading-room etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a place where reading materials are available
  • noun a literary or scientific association for the promotion of learning


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin Athēnaeum, a Roman school, after Greek Athēnaion, the temple of Athena, from Athēna, Athena.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin Athenaeum, from Ancient Greek Ἀθηναῖον, from Ἀθήνη ("Athene").


  • He tried to instill Arts & Letters Daily with the atmosphere of a Victorian reading room or an athenaeum — a place for reading and thinking, free from distractions.

    A Maecenas for the Internet Age

  • The guerrilla athenaeum, which appeared this spring at the intersection of Leonard and Withers streets in Williamsburg, has clapboard siding and sits on a hand truck chained to a one-way street sign—a clever skirting of city regulation by its founder, 31-year-old artist Colin McMullan .

    Guerrilla Librarians Making Noise

  • I know this athenaeum well, I esteem and have affection for the students who study there: On several occasions every year many of them come to meet me in the Vatican, together with their colleagues from other universities.

    Archive 2008-01-20

  • Everything that has been done in any other athenaeum, I confidently expect to see done here; and when that shall be the case, and when there shall be great cheap schools in connexion with the institution, and when it has bound together for ever all its friends, and brought over to itself all those who look upon it as an objectionable institution, — then, and not till then, I hope the young men of

    Speeches: Literary and Social

  • It was a profound reflection, as he did last Sunday before the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI reiterated the substance of what he had already said: everything took place in an athenaeum, and hence in language that would be employed for a university lecture.

    General Audience: reason should guide transmission of faith

  • In the first years of settlement, the twenty-five founding families had worked together to construct the buildings of the Commons: the self-reliance school, athenaeum, communion lodge, town hall and Littleton's first exchange, where goods and services could be bought or bartered.

    The Year's Best Science Fiction 23rd Annual Collection

  • RICHARDSON: Widener is the big library at Harvard -- that or the Boston athenaeum, which has many of the books that Emerson himself looked at.

    Emerson: The Mind on Fire

  • Besides numerous other places of worship, there are a handsome town hall, athenaeum and museum, art gallery and public library, various assembly rooms, and several recreation grounds.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 "Bulgaria" to "Calgary"

  • He offered him a whole square next to that where the college, the courthouse, the church, the library, the athenaeum, and all the public buildings were situated ....

    Choice Specimens of American Literature, and Literary Reader Being Selections from the Chief American Writers

  • Thence passing to the athenaeum illustre (high school), he continued for four years his classical studies under the celebrated Professor Jakob van Lennep with the greatest success.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 13: Revelation-Stock


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  • Also:

    a building or room in which books, periodicals, and newspapers are kept for use

    November 17, 2007

  • athenaeum – an institution, such as a literary club or scientific academy, for the promotion of learning; a place, such as a library, where printed materials are available for reading

    July 14, 2008