noun, plural hothouses [hot-hou-ziz] .
an artificially heated greenhouse for the cultivation of tender plants.
of, pertaining to, or noting a plant grown in a hothouse, or so fragile as to be capable of being grown only in a hothouse.
overprotected, artificial, or unnaturally delicate.

1505–15; hot + house Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hothouse (ˈhɒtˌhaʊs)
1.  a.  a greenhouse in which the temperature is maintained at a fixed level above that of the surroundings
 b.  (as modifier): a hothouse plant
2.  a.  an environment that encourages rapid development
 b.  (as modifier): a hot-house atmosphere
3.  an environment where there is great pressure: showjumping is a tough, hothouse world
4.  informal, censorious often (modifier) sensitive or delicate: a hothouse temperament

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1451, "bath house," from hot + house. In 17c. a euphemism for "brothel" (cf. massage parlor); the meaning "glass-roofed structure for raising plants" is from 1749.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It was a hothouse fauna, living amidst a hothouse flora.
We share this impatience with hothouse coteries and tend to charge ahead,
  mowing down everything in our paths.
Many talented tyros had been bred in the studio hothouse.
Enough of the busyness and ambition, the hothouse summers.
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