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[hot-hous] /ˈhɒtˌhaʊs/
noun, plural hothouses
[hot-hou-ziz] /ˈhɒtˌhaʊ zɪz/ (Show IPA)
an artificially heated greenhouse for the cultivation of tender plants.
of, relating 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.
Origin of hothouse
1505-15; hot + house Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hothouse
  • 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.
  • His selective public high school is a hothouse of academic pressure.
  • Some refer to their product as hothouse tomatoes, which simply implies some type of protected culture.
  • The city was a hothouse for radical innovations in politics, philosophy and the arts.
  • hothouse tomato growers reported difficulty keeping up with harvest requirements.
British Dictionary definitions for hothouse


  1. a greenhouse in which the temperature is maintained at a fixed level above that of the surroundings
  2. (as modifier): a hothouse plant
  1. an environment that encourages rapid development
  2. (as modifier): a hot-house atmosphere
an environment where there is great pressure: showjumping is a tough, hothouse world
(modifier) (informal, often censorious) sensitive or delicate: a hothouse temperament
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hothouse

mid-15c., "bath house," from hot + house (n.). In 17c. a euphemism for "brothel" (cf. massage parlor); the meaning "glass-roofed structure for raising plants" is from 1749. Figurative use by 1802.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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