Aquarium can either describe a small tank, or an entire building that houses fish and other aquatic life. Your goldfish will probably feel right at home in the aquarium that's sitting on your desk, but a whale would be better off in a big aquarium where people buy tickets to see marine life.

Pronunciation: /əˈkwer.i.əm/ 
English description: a clear glass or plastic container for fish and other water animals
ORIGIN: An aquarium can be small enough to fit in the average house, or big enough to house whales and accommodate millions of tourists each year. If you're talking about more than one of those tanks filled with fish and other marine life, you could say aquariums, but aquaria, from the original Latin term, is also an acceptable plural.



  • Visitors watch a whale shark swim at a Chinese aquarium.
  • Eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins live at the National Aquarium..

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