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hypocaust

[hahy-puh-kawst, hip-uh-] /ˈhaɪ pəˌkɔst, ˈhɪp ə-/
noun
1.
a hollow space or system of channels in the floor or walls of some ancient Roman buildings that provided a central heating system by receiving and distributing the heat from a furnace.
Origin
1670-1680
1670-80; < Latin hypocaustum < Greek hypókauston room heated from below, equivalent to hypo- hypo- + kaustón, neuter of kaustós (verbal adjective) heated, burned; see caustic
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for hypocaust

hypocaust

/ˈhaɪpəˌkɔːst/
noun
1.
an ancient Roman heating system in which hot air circulated under the floor and between double walls
Word Origin
C17: from Latin hypocaustum, from Greek hupokauston room heated from below, from hupokaiein to light a fire beneath, from hypo- + kaiein to burn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for hypocaust

in building construction, open space below a floor that is heated by gases from a fire or furnace below and that allows the passage of hot air to heat the room above. This type of heating was developed by the Romans, who used it not only in the warm and hot rooms of the baths but also almost universally in private houses in the northern provinces.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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